1650s, "harsh or unpleasant sound," probably via French cacophonie (16c.), from a Latinized form of Greek kakophonia, from kakophonos "harsh sounding," from kakos "bad, evil" (from PIE root *kakka- "to defecate") + phonē "voice, sound," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say." The meaning "discordant sounds in music" is from 1789. Related: Cacophonous.
also kaka-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to defecate." According to Watkins, "imitative of glottal closure during defecation."
It forms all or part of: caca; cachexia; caco-; cacoethes; cacophony; cucking stool; kakistocracy; poppycock.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek kakke "human excrement," Latin cacare, Irish caccaim, Serbo-Croatian kakati, Armenian k'akor; Old English cac-hus "latrine."
Etymologists dispute whether the modern Germanic words (Dutch kakken, Danish kakke, German kacken), are native cognates or student slang borrowed from Latin cacare. Caca appears in Modern English in slang c. 1870, and could have been taken from any or several of the languages that used it.
*bhā-; Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to speak, tell, say."
It forms all or part of: abandon; affable; anthem; antiphon; aphasia; aphonia; aphonic; apophasis; apophatic; ban (n.1) "proclamation or edict;" ban (v.); banal; bandit; banish; banlieue; banns (n.); bifarious; blame; blaspheme; blasphemy; boon (n.); cacophony; confess; contraband; defame; dysphemism; euphemism; euphony; fable; fabulous; fado; fairy; fame; famous; fandango; fatal; fate; fateful; fatuous; fay; gramophone; heterophemy; homophone; ineffable; infamous; infamy; infant; infantile; infantry; mauvais; megaphone; microphone; monophonic; nefandous; nefarious; phatic; -phone; phone (n.2) "elementary sound of a spoken language;" phoneme; phonetic; phonic; phonics; phono-; pheme; -phemia; Polyphemus; polyphony; preface; profess; profession; professional; professor; prophecy; prophet; prophetic; quadraphonic; symphony; telephone; xylophone.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek pheme "speech, voice, utterance, a speaking, talk," phōnē "voice, sound" of a human or animal, also "tone, voice, pronunciation, speech," phanai "to speak;" Sanskrit bhanati "speaks;" Latin fari "to say," fabula "narrative, account, tale, story," fama "talk, rumor, report; reputation, public opinion; renown, reputation;" Armenian ban, bay "word, term;" Old Church Slavonic bajati "to talk, tell;" Old English boian "to boast," ben "prayer, request;" Old Irish bann "law."
to come on like gangbusters (c. 1940) is from popular U.S. radio crime-fighting drama "Gang Busters" (1937-57) which always opened with a cacophony of sirens, screams, pistol shots, and jarring music.
masc. proper name, also name of an Old Testament angel, from Hebrew Gabhri el, literally "man of God," from gebher "man" + El "God." First element is from base of verb gabhar "was strong" (compare Arabic jabr "strong, young man;" jabbar "tyrant"). Gabriel's hounds (17c.) was a folk explanation for the cacophony of wild geese flying over, hidden by clouds or night.