1. A slender length of flexible material usually made of twisted strands or fibers and used to bind, tie, connect, or support. See Usage Note at chord1.
2. An insulated flexible electric wire fitted with a plug or plugs.
3. A hangman's rope.
4. An influence, feeling, or force that binds or restrains; a bond or tie.
5. also chord Anatomy A long ropelike structure, such as a nerve or tendon: a spinal cord.
a. A raised rib on the surface of cloth.
b. A fabric or cloth with such ribs.
7. cords Pants made of corduroy.
8. A unit of quantity for cut fuel wood, equal to a stack measuring 4 × 4 × 8 feet or 128 cubic feet (3.62 cubic meters).
tr.v. cord·ed, cord·ing, cords
1. To fasten or bind with a cord: corded the stack of old newspapers and placed them in the recycling bin.
2. To furnish with a cord.
3. To pile (wood) in cords.
[Middle English, from Old French corde, from Latin chorda, from Greek khordē, gut, string made from gut; see gherə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots. Noun, sense 8, so called because the size of a cord pile of wood was originally measured with a cord of rope.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.