Noun > Clangor

Noun – Clangor

In Latin, clangere means “to ring, or to resound,” and in Greek, klange means “a sharp sound.” Clangere and klange were probably formed by imitating the sound of a bell, a bird, or a trumpet. And they probably gave us our English “clang,” meaning “a loud sound” or “to make a loud sound.”

We took the related Latin clangor, “the sound of birds or trumpets,” straight into English, where it means a loud ringing sound, like the kind made by a bell, a trumpet, or pieces of metal being smashed together.

(rhymes with “hanger”)

Part of speech:
Most often a noun, usually the uncountable kind (“all this clangor“) and sometimes the countable, singular kind (“it raised a clangor).

Other forms:
Outside of the US, you’ll see it spelled “clangour.”

It’s also a verb, but we rarely use it that way: “the city streets clangor during rush hour,” “the church bells clangor into the morning air.”

The adjective is “clangorous;” the adverb, “clangorously.” If you prefer, use the adjective “clangoring” to suggest an ongoing sound. Here’s Slate: “the clangoring, labyrinthine bazaars where we must choose from too many options, opinions, products, and possibilities.”

How to use it:
Use the somewhat formal word “clangor” to describe any sound that’s loud, repetitive, or echoing, especially in a harsh, metallic way. The sound of a clangor is rarely beautiful and often urgent or even chaotic.

We often talk about the clangor of something: the clangor of a gong, the clangor of machinery, the clangor of the church bells, the clangor of applause in a packed concert hall, the clangor of a thousand pigeons crowding the park.

Add an adjective, if you like: a metallic clangor, an industrial clangor, an ominous clangor.

You can also get figurative, and talk about the clangor of the news cycle, the clangor of social media, the clangor in one’s soul, the clangor of war, etc.

“Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling,
And the wrangling.
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells—
Of the bells—
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells—
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!”

— Edgar Allan Poe, “The Bells,” 1850

“Great flocks of sandhill cranes passed overhead from time to time, the air resounding with their strange, musical, guttural clangor.”
— Theodore Roosevelt, Hunting in Many Lands: The Book of the Boone and Crockett Club, 1895