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

Examples of echolocation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Although echolocation is closely associated with hunting, toothed whales use whistles and clicks to communicate with each other. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 17 Jan. 2024 Bottlenose dolphins hunt prey using their keen eyesight, hearing and a sonar system known as echolocation. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Dec. 2023 The southern residents, which number just 75, use echolocation to hunt salmon. Manuel Valdes, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Feb. 2024 Their ideas included a surfing simulator and an echolocation cave. Beth Lipoff, Kansas City Star, 2 Feb. 2024 Bats and dolphins are deservedly famous for their echolocation, but the elephantnose fish has a different superpower sense—electrolocation. Elizabeth Anne Brown, Scientific American, 6 Nov. 2023 This was done partly for the whale’s sake, as the high-frequency pitch made by sonar devices can harm killer whales and other marine mammals that depend on echolocation to hunt and navigate. Dac Collins, Outdoor Life, 25 Oct. 2023 About half of all living bat species have cleft palates—a feature that may be tied to bat echolocation. Riley Black, Scientific American, 9 Sep. 2023 Daniel lost his eyes as a child and, as an adult, has become a pioneer in the use of echolocation among the blind, a skill that he’s developed in order to generate vivid, precise perceptions of his surroundings. Michael Minahan, The New Yorker, 13 Dec. 2023

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

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 12 Apr. 2024.

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

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