shock wave


: a compressional wave of high amplitude caused by a shock (as from an earthquake or explosion) to the medium through which the wave travels
: a violent often pulsating disturbance or reaction
shock waves of rebellion

Examples of shock wave in a Sentence

The decision created a shock wave of criticism.
Recent Examples on the Web President Biden is visiting Baltimore Friday in a show of support after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge sent shock waves through the city and disrupted the state's traffic and commerce. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 5 Apr. 2024 The news is sending shock waves throughout the tristate area: Another billionaire has predicted an inevitable four-days-in-office workweek. Jane Thier, Fortune, 5 Apr. 2024 The decision last month sent shock waves through the IVF community in the state as well as nationally and quickly prompted Alabama legislators to try to safeguard the process. Rachel Hatzipanagos, Washington Post, 29 Mar. 2024 The collapse sent shock waves across the country, sparked supply chain concerns and broke the hearts of locals who considered the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which stretches a mile-and-a-half and carries Interstate 695, a city jewel. George Solis, NBC News, 28 Mar. 2024 The claims sent shock waves through the music industry and put Combs’ entertainment empire in jeopardy. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2024 And to test the compaction, the crew uses special devices that send shock waves into the soil to measure thickness and other soil qualities. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, 25 Mar. 2024 Li’s warnings sent shock waves through the small but influential Chinese X sphere. Nectar Gan, CNN, 18 Mar. 2024 The verdict sent shock waves through the real estate industry and has since catalyzed into more than a dozen copycat suits across the country, including a nationwide class-action case that ensnares the country’s largest brokerage and its owner, Warren E. Buffett. Debra Kamin, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shock wave.' 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

1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of shock wave was in 1846

Dictionary Entries Near shock wave

Cite this Entry

“Shock wave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

shock wave

: a wave formed by the sudden compression (as by an earthquake or supersonic aircraft) of the substance through which the wave travels

More from Merriam-Webster on shock wave

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