acoustic shadow


Definition of acoustic shadow

: an area where sounds from a nearby source that should normally be audible cannot be heard because of an unusual combination of factors (such as topography and wind) During the American Civil War, observers noted a curious fact: the sounds of a battle, clearly distinguishable at ten miles, could be utterly inaudible at two. These weird wrinkles in the landscape were called “acoustic shadows.”— Mark Slouka, Harper’s, June 2000

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First Known Use of acoustic shadow

1830, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of acoustic shadow was in 1830

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Cite this Entry

“Acoustic shadow.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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