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

Actually, bats have supersharp night vision, using echolocation, a form of natural sonar, to find their way around. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "A well-turned simile can make us happy as a clam," 24 Aug. 2019 Later the moth’s wing eye spots confuse predators, while its long tails may have evolved to confuse the radar-like echolocation of hungry bats. Ellen Nibali,, "The impressive luna moth and preparing for a bio-diverse yard," 22 Aug. 2019 Advocates say vessel noise interferes with the echolocation the orcas use to hunt. USA TODAY, "‘Stranger’ tourists, Phish and the plague, kinkajou attack: News from around our 50 states," 22 Aug. 2019 He and co-author Xiaoyan Yin, a doctoral student in his lab, pursued two methods of testing whether the ears might actually move fast enough to produce Doppler shifts of their own—and what that might mean for echolocation. Richard Conniff, Scientific American, "In the Wiggle of an Ear, a Surprising Insight into Bat Sonar," 17 June 2019 Large ears actually have little to do with echolocation, the bat's built-in sonar that sends out sound waves and detects the echo bouncing off a prey item, such as a moth. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "This animal has the biggest ears on Earth (relative to size)," 12 Apr. 2019 Orcas find their food by echolocation, and vessel disturbance hurts their ability to find food. Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times, "Another southern resident orca is ailing — and at least three whales are pregnant," 25 Sep. 2018 This switch between eavesdropping and echolocation is pretty intuitive. William Herkewitz, Popular Mechanics, "When Humans Make Too Much Noise, Bats Just Change How They Hunt," 15 Sep. 2016 The beasts tend to make clicking and buzzing sounds while in the deep sea, about 700 to 2,000 feet down, and buzzed quite a bit in one particular fjord, likely using echolocation while hunting shrimp and cod. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Researchers Record the Sounds of the Elusive Narwhal," 15 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near echolocation






echo organ


Statistics for echolocation

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for echolocation

The first known use of echolocation was circa 1944

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More from Merriam-Webster on echolocation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with echolocation Encyclopedia article about echolocation

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readily or continually undergoing change

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