shock wave


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 ruling sent shock waves through the paleontology world, threatening to upend the way fossil hunters have operated for decades. Jeremy P. Jacobs, Science | AAAS, "Are dinosaur fossils ‘minerals’? The Montana Supreme Court will decide high stakes case," 10 July 2019 The severity of the resulting traffic jam depends on how the shock wave propagates. Eugenia Cheng, WSJ, "Going With the Flow of Traffic," 9 Nov. 2018 Though smaller than many warheads, a 250-kiloton bomb, detonated in the air, would create a larger shock wave and fireball than a ground explosion. Daily Intelligencer, "This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like," 12 June 2018 The decision was more severe than diplomats had expected and sent shock waves around the globe. Tracy Wilkinson,, "Trump pulls U.S. out of Iran nuclear deal and announces sweeping new economic sanctions," 8 May 2018 The winning time of 1:49.72 over the a mile and an eighth topped Gormley’s run a year ago, but produced few shock waves in front of the crowd of 39,023. Bryce Miller,, "El Cajon's Mick Ruis tripped at Santa Anita, but Kentucky Derby dream remains robustly alive," 7 Apr. 2018 A year ago, Golden State sent shock waves through the NBA by signing Cousins to the mid-level. Connor Letourneau,, "Warriors free agency: 8 steps the team hopes to take," 29 June 2019 An Ohio jury has reached a verdict that should send a shock wave through college administrations across the land. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 20 June 2019 When the shock wave crashes into the right side of the house, the chimney absorbs most of its force. Nathaniel Penn, Popular Mechanics, "The Day the Town Blew Up," 3 June 2019

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

Dictionary Entries near shock wave

shock troops

shock tube

shock value

shock wave




Statistics for shock wave

Last Updated

19 Jul 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


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 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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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