plural noun
air·​waves | \ ˈer-ˌwāvz How to pronounce airwaves (audio) \

Definition of airwaves

: the medium of radio and television transmission not used technically

Examples of airwaves in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The next wave of 5G service is fertile ground for controversy, but in one respect, most observers agree: America needs faster, more accessible mobile internet service—and the U.S. military controls many airwaves that are well-suited to that task. Ryan Tracy, WSJ, "Should the U.S. Change How It Doles Out Airwaves for 5G?," 10 Nov. 2020 Both have deployed 5G technology in low-band airwaves like those used for 4G, but that provides minimal speed increases. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "T-Mobile will extend fast 5G service nationwide in 2021, pressuring rivals," 6 Nov. 2020 Trump had tried to commandeer the nation's airwaves at a time when the evening newscasts are shown on the East Coast, after a day when the slow drip of vote counting revealed his leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia dwindling. David Bauder, Star Tribune, "Networks cut away from Trump's White House address," 5 Nov. 2020 The result is a flood-the-zone approach, typical of the way President Trump has governed, with aides swamping the airwaves to shape public perception and push the idea that a win by Biden would be illegitimate. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Trump legal challenges muddy water for Biden victory," 5 Nov. 2020 So waking up to the news Wednesday that the winner of the U.S. election might not be known for hours, days or longer — pundits filled global airwaves with their best bets — was jarring for a planet weaned on American speediness. Arkansas Online, "World waits nervously, impatiently for U.S. vote count," 4 Nov. 2020 Party and political action committee pumped in another $13 million, mostly for TV ads that blanketed the Central Valley airwaves. John Wildermuth,, "California House races: Democrats clinging to seats they flipped in 2018," 4 Nov. 2020 Proponents raised more than $16 million to fill airwaves with stories of successful treatments stemming from the first bond measure. Los Angeles Times, "Prop. 14 stem cell bond holding onto lead," 3 Nov. 2020 Eight years before the Times zipper, newspapers in Detroit and Pittsburgh, as well as in other locations, took to the radio airwaves to announce Warren Harding’s election as president. Mike Conway, The Conversation, "Election night has been a big media event since electric lights first announced the winner in 1892," 3 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'airwaves.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of airwaves

1900, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for airwaves

Time Traveler

The first known use of airwaves was in 1900

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Statistics for airwaves

Last Updated

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Airwaves.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for airwaves


How to pronounce airwaves (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of airwaves

: the signals used to broadcast radio and television programs

More from Merriam-Webster on airwaves

Nglish: Translation of airwaves for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of airwaves for Arabic Speakers

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