noun \ ˈpiŋ \
|Updated on: 3 Aug 2018

Definition of ping

1 : a sharp sound like that of a striking bullet
2 : knock 2b
3 : the pulse of sound waves reflected from or emitted by a submerged object in submarine signaling or detection and heard by special apparatus
  • Baylor … trained his sound unit from one bearing to another, listening for submarines. It threw out a directional sound beam, a series of "pings." These pings, if they hit a solid object like a submarine, reflected back to the operator.
  • —William J. Lederer
4 : a signal sent from one computer to another across a network for usually diagnostic purposes (as to determine network speed or the status of the target computer)
  • With Napster, however, all you have to do is type in the name of the song or artist and up will pop 2,745 Phish songs sorted by the host computer's type of modem connection and ping rate.
  • —Karl Taro Greenfeld

Origin and Etymology of ping


Other Automotive Terms




Definition of ping

1 : to make a ping
2 : to ricochet with a ping
  • gravel pinging off … the car
  • —Margaret Atwood
1 : to cause to ping
  • ping a bell
2 : to locate (something, such as a submerged object or submarine) by detecting the reflection of a pulse of sound waves : to send out a ping (see 1ping 3) in order to locate (something)
  • We will have to follow this big old boy on the surface and then try to ping him with the sonar when he dives.
  • —Corwin Ericson
3 a : to send a signal to (a computer) in order to determine its status or the status of the connecting network
  • Without realizing what he was doing, he pinged every server in a .gov domain. Next day, his ISP canceled his account; the retribution was swift and uncompromising.
  • —Bill Machrone
b : to send a signal to (a device, such as a cell phone) in order to determine its status or location
  • Howell officers warned police agencies across the state. … Police pinged the man's phone to get its location.
  • —Andrew Ford
c : to send a usually brief message (such as a text message) or notification to (a person, a person's phone, etc.)
  • … provides an opportunity to check the time or see who pinged you while you were coming down the mountain …
  • Wired

Examples of ping in a Sentence

  1. Pebbles pinged off the car.

Recent Examples of ping from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ping.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ping


in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler


geographical name \ ˈpiŋ \

Definition of Ping

river 360 miles (579 kilometers) long in western Thailand flowing south-southeast to join the Nan River forming the Chao Phraya River

PING Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of ping for English Language Learners

  • : to make the high, sharp sound of a small, hard object bouncing off metal or glass

  • : to bounce off something with a sharp, high sound

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having an air of easy unconcern

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