Definition of decibel
1a : a unit for expressing the ratio of two amounts of electric or acoustic signal power equal to 10 times the common logarithm of this ratiob : a unit for expressing the ratio of the magnitudes of two electric voltages or currents or analogous acoustic quantities equal to 20 times the common logarithm of the voltage or current ratio
2 : a unit for expressing the relative intensity of sounds on a scale from zero for the average least perceptible sound to about 130 for the average pain level
3 : degree of loudness; also : extremely loud sound —usually used in plural
Examples of decibel in a Sentence
a rock concert blasting music at 110 decibels
the crowd decibels increased dramatically as the horses neared the finish line
Recent Examples of decibel from the Web
With Democrats arrayed unanimously against him, McConnell needs at least 50 of the 52 GOP senators to vote yes or witness the mortifying crumpling of his party’s high-decibel pledge to uproot Obama’s law.
On noise, the company reported its sound study indicates that a car wash would generate average levels of 55 decibels, less than the 60-decibel level at the site now.
The UE (Ultimate Ears) Boom 2 ($199) and its bigger sister MegaBoom ($299) are cheerful party animals, hitting sonic peaks of 101 and 102 decibels, respectively.
On its own, 65 decibels is no big deal — somewhere between the loudness of a conversation in a restaurant and a vacuum cleaner.
Hensarling — a polite and low-decibel conservative with a deadpan sense of humor and an occasionally sharp tongue — has become a tea party favorite by relentlessly striving to cut federal spending and shrink the federal government.
The ordinance mandates that noise levels be capped at 55 decibels between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. in residential neighborhoods.
The high-decibel outrage being exhibited from Democrats about the Paris Deal is probably too high even for suburban voters, who may be concerned about global warming, but not as a top-tier issue.
Now a team of ecologists has found that bugs are shaken up by compressors, too—and by high decibel levels of noise in general.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'decibel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The unit for measuring the relative intensities of sound is called a decibel. Because the decibel scale is logarithmic, a sound with an intensity that is twice that of a reference sound corresponds to an increase of little more than 3 decibels. In common practice, the reference point of 0 decibel is set at the intensity of the least perceptible sound, the threshold of hearing. On such a scale a 10-decibel sound is 10 times the intensity of the reference sound; a 20-decibel sound is 100 times the reference intensity, and so on. Normal conversation is usually around 60 decibels, an electric saw around 100 decibels, and amplified rock music around 120 decibels.
Origin and Etymology of decibel
International Scientific Vocabulary deci- + bel
First Known Use: 1928See Words from the same year
DECIBEL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of decibel for English Language Learners
: a unit for measuring how loud a sound is
DECIBEL Defined for Kids
Definition of decibel for Students
: a unit for measuring the loudness of sounds
Medical Definition of decibel
1a: a unit for expressing the ratio of two amounts of electric or acoustic signal power equal to 10 times the common logarithm of this ratiob: a unit for expressing the ratio of the magnitudes of two electric voltages or currents or analogous acoustic quantities equal to 20 times the common logarithm of the voltage or current ratio
2: a unit for expressing the relative intensity of sounds on a scale from zero for the average least perceptible sound to about 130 for the average pain level
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