1 of 2


au·​di·​to·​ry ˈȯ-də-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce auditory (audio)
archaic : audience
archaic : auditorium


2 of 2


: of, relating to, or experienced through hearing
auditory stimuli
auditorily adverb

Did you know?

Auditory is close in meaning to acoustic and acoustical, but auditory usually refers more to hearing than to sound. For instance, many dogs have great auditory (not acoustic) powers, and the auditory nerve lets us hear by connecting the inner ear to the brain. Acoustic and acoustical instead refer especially to instruments and the conditions under which sound can be heard; so architects concern themselves with the acoustic properties of an auditorium, and instrument makers with those of a clarinet or piano.

Examples of auditory in a Sentence

Adjective The patient has damage to the auditory nerve. I have a bad auditory memory—unless I see a word in writing, and not just hear it, I forget it easily.
Recent Examples on the Web
Senate seat, also compared him to Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), who had a stroke and faced auditory processing problems as a result. Barnini Chakraborty, Washington Examiner, 30 Jan. 2023 But as the auditory confusion clears, moments where cross-purposes align have the power of the Ghostbusters crossing their streams. Chris Kelly, Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2023 Both versions offer an exceptional auditory experience with plenty of snaps, crackles, and pops coming from the exhaust. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, 12 Jan. 2023 In a 2020 study, researchers at the University of Lincoln in the U.K. compared the hearing and auditory functions of dogs and humans. Joe Phelan, Discover Magazine, 11 Jan. 2023 Certain ideas of auditory refuge from this constant cacophony have surged in popularity online and in research circles. Haley Weiss, Time, 6 Jan. 2023 But sometimes a title is good not just because of its auditory pleasures, but also as a narrative; and going for a walk and listening can be just as rewarding a process as curling up and reading. Sebastian Modak, New York Times, 2 Jan. 2023 Her voice was an ache in auditory form, a melodic prayer of hope and hurt. Jen Chaney, Vulture, 1 Dec. 2022 According to Fetterman’s doctors, the candidate sometimes has difficulty speaking and experiences auditory processing issues five months after his stroke. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 26 Oct. 2022
Simply listening to stories develops the capacity to attend to auditory information, sharing books in a more conversational way opens the door to so much more. Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2023 Deepfakes, which can be visual or auditory, and manipulated images, can be used to spread false information and misrepresent individuals. Foreign Affairs, 21 Aug. 2023 In people with cerebral palsy, auditory stimulation has been shown to help with gait speed and posture according to a meta-analysis of 14 studies. Nada Hassanein, USA TODAY, 2 May 2023 The National Library of Medicine describes the symptoms of schizophrenia as including hallucinations, most commonly auditory but often involving hallucinatory visions, smells or even tastes, as well. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 28 Aug. 2023 Neuroscientists attached electrical sensors to the surface of 29 epilepsy patients’ brains to study their response to auditory stimuli. IEEE Spectrum, 18 Aug. 2023 Other calming noises include fan, sea, and rain sounds. ASMR: This includes auditory, visual, or tactile stimuli that induce relaxation. Krissy Brady, Health, 27 July 2023 Short-term memory seems to comprise multiple forms: extremely short-term sense memories, some auditory and some visual and spatial, regulated by some kind of central attention or executive function. Jacob Bacharach, The New Republic, 25 July 2023 Chiropractic care emerged from the medical ether in 1895 when Daniel D. Palmer, its pioneer, successfully performed a spinal manipulation that purportedly improved a patient's auditory faculties. Maria Williams, USA TODAY, 15 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'auditory.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English auditorie, borrowed from Latin audītōrium "hall, body of listeners" — more at auditorium


borrowed from Late Latin audītōrius, from audīre "to hear" + -tōrius, deverbal adjective suffix originally forming derivatives from agent nouns ending in -tōr-, -tor — more at audible entry 1

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1578, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of auditory was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near auditory

Cite this Entry

“Auditory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: of or relating to hearing or to the sense or organs of hearing

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
au·​di·​to·​ry ˈȯd-ə-ˌtōr-ē, -ˌtȯr- How to pronounce auditory (audio)
: of or relating to hearing
: attained, experienced, or produced through or as if through hearing
auditory images
auditory hallucinations
: marked by great susceptibility to impressions and reactions produced by acoustic stimuli
an auditory individual


2 of 2 noun
plural auditories

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