shock wave

noun

Definition of shock wave

1 : a compressional wave of high amplitude caused by a shock (as from an earthquake or explosion) to the medium through which the wave travels
2 : 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

The detention sent shock waves through the global business community. Nick Kostov, WSJ, "Ghosn Lost 15 Pounds in Two Weeks Due to Harsh Treatment, Wife Says," 14 Jan. 2019 The neutron star shrinks suddenly, and this produces a second shock wave that heads out at nearly the speed of light, blowing apart the rest of the star. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Atoms may come apart as the Universe’s biggest stars explode," 24 Oct. 2018 On that day, a meteor exploded in the sky over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, generating a powerful shock wave that shattered thousands of windows in the buildings below. Mike Wall, Space.com, "Asteroid Billiards: This Wild Idea to Protect Earth Just Might Work," 24 Aug. 2018 During the initial impact, shock waves flattened trees in massive waves within a radius of nearly 1,000 miles. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "These were the unlikely survivors after dinosaurs went extinct," 24 May 2018 Scientists were pretty sure that the variability came down, somehow, to a combination of radiation pressure, shock waves, and convection. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Beautiful 3D model of stars explains changes in brightness," 8 Oct. 2018 The policy has sent shock waves across the country, igniting outrage on the part of immigration advocates, human rights groups, and citizens across the political spectrum. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Jeff Sessions cited a Bible passage used by American slaveholders to defend Trump’s family separation policy," 15 June 2018 The shock wave and thunder (at very close range to the lightning bolt) can cause property damage, but no injuries have been reported. Tom Skilling, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Tom: Lightning is dangerous, but what about thunder?," 2 May 2018 CMEs can create a kind of solar wind on steroids, generating shock waves that push energetic particles to relativistic speeds, or velocities that approach the speed of light. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "The New Science of the Sun Will Be Astounding—And Possibly Terrifying," 9 Aug. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of shock wave

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about shock wave

Share shock wave

Dictionary Entries near shock wave

shock troops

shock tube

shock value

shock wave

shod

shodden

shoddy

Statistics for shock wave

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shock wave

The first known use of shock wave was in 1907

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shock wave

shock wave

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shock wave

: a movement of extremely high air pressure that is caused by an explosion, an earthquake, etc.

: a usually negative response or reaction that many people have to a particular thing

More from Merriam-Webster on shock wave

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shock wave

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about shock wave

Comments on shock wave

What made you want to look up shock wave? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a complex dispute or argument

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!