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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web And bats that use echolocation have an impressive, seven-octave vocal range to match their sound needs, the researchers said. Zoe Sottile, CNN, 29 Nov. 2022 The fungus takes over victims’ nervous systems, rips through their eyes, and they’re forced to use echolocation to feast on human flesh. Jordan Moreau, Variety, 23 Oct. 2022 When something goes awry, like a mistake in echolocation or an illness, pilot whales tend to beach themselves altogether. Riley Farrell, ABC News, 12 Oct. 2022 Yong proceeds sense by sense, from the familiar (sight, smell, taste), to the exotic (echolocation, electroreception, magnetoreception). Sadie Dingfelder, Washington Post, 1 July 2022 Dolphins and bats have their own, more complete versions of this echolocation. Helen Czerski, WSJ, 23 Sep. 2022 Bottlenose dolphins and other toothed whales apparently relinquished olfaction long ago, possibly to free up head space for echolocation. Abigail Tucker, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Sep. 2022 The Clickers – the most iconic creature / nightmare fuel from the bestiary – become exponentially more terrifying when their echolocation clicking feels like it’s brushing the hair of your neck. Christopher Cruz, Rolling Stone, 2 Sep. 2022 Like agriculture, echolocation, and the river dolphin, the practice that would become effective altruism emerged independently in different places at around the same time. Gideon Lewis-kraus, The New Yorker, 8 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1944, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of echolocation was circa 1944

Dictionary Entries Near echolocation

Cite this Entry

“Echolocation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


echo·​lo·​ca·​tion ˌek-ō-lō-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce echolocation (audio)
: a process for locating distant or invisible objects by means of sound waves reflected back to the sender from the objects

More from Merriam-Webster on echolocation

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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