pressure wave


: a wave (such as a sound wave) in which the propagated disturbance is a variation of pressure in a material medium

called also P-wave

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web But upon its first lunge, the CSZ sends out a pressure wave, or P-wave, that travels through the earth’s crust at 13,000 miles per hour. Bruce Barcott, Outside Online, 25 Aug. 2011 But the primary product of the snapping claw is a high-amplitude pressure wave that can cause damage to soft tissues such as those of the brain. Viviane Callier, Scientific American, 14 July 2022 Thermobaric munitions burst over their targets, spreading a fuel vapor before exploding and igniting the fuel—and creating a pressure wave that’s twice as powerful as that from a conventional artillery shell. David Axe, Forbes, 4 June 2022 After the earthquake’s initial pressure wave, there’s a short lull. Bruce Barcott, Outside Online, 25 Aug. 2011 Another pressure wave hit in late afternoon November 21, lifting the ship's stern. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 9 Mar. 2022 The pressure wave from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai eruption arrived here in Anchorage at 3:30 a.m. AKST. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, 16 Jan. 2022 Hyche, who is now a police chief in Alabama after serving at ATF for three decades, said the blast pressure wave from an explosion can be as deadly as shrapnel. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, 16 May 2021 The space rock fragmented violently, producing a pressure wave that rattled buildings and generated the sound heard by those near the trajectory. Mike Wehner, BGR, 11 Mar. 2021 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1942, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pressure wave was in 1942

Dictionary Entries Near pressure wave

Cite this Entry

“Pressure wave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition

pressure wave

: a wave (as a sound wave) in which the propagated disturbance is a variation of pressure in a material medium (as air)

More from Merriam-Webster on pressure wave

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