echo·​lo·​ca·​tion | \ ˌe-kō-lō-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce echolocation (audio) \

Definition of echolocation

: a physiological process for locating distant or invisible objects (such as prey) by sound waves reflected back to the emitter (such as a bat) from the objects

Examples of echolocation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Bats use echolocation to hunt for their meals, and moths are often on the menu. Karen Hopkin, Scientific American, 21 July 2021 Dolphins and other animals that rely on echolocation must also find ways around the maze of sound waves ricocheting around them. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, 12 Nov. 2018 That range covers the frequencies of bat echolocation calls—findings Neil presented at the Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Karen Hopkin, Scientific American, 21 July 2021 The researchers also followed up with blind participants three months later to see how the echolocation affected them long-term. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 June 2021 When prompted, the 15 participants initiated their echolocation signals through the tablet. Sarah Wells, Popular Mechanics, 10 May 2021 The whales emit rapid clicking sounds to use echolocation, rather than sight, to communicate and hunt. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, 31 Mar. 2021 The information from this process of echolocation tells the flying mammals the precise path of their fast-moving food. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, 12 Nov. 2018 Being unable to detect the nylon mesh using echolocation, the porpoises would frequently drown after getting tangled in gill nets. Lindsey Mcginnis, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'echolocation.' 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 echolocation

circa 1944, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for echolocation

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The first known use of echolocation was circa 1944

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Last Updated

6 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Echolocation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for echolocation


echo·​lo·​ca·​tion | \ ˌe-kō-lō-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce echolocation (audio) \

Kids Definition of echolocation

: a method for locating objects that is used by various animals (as bats and dolphins) and that involves sending out sound waves which are reflected back from the objects to the sender as echoes

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