so·​nar | \ ˈsō-ˌnär How to pronounce sonar (audio) \

Definition of sonar

: a method or device for detecting and locating objects especially underwater by means of sound waves sent out to be reflected by the objects also : a device for detecting the presence of a vessel (such as a submarine) by the sound it emits in water

Examples of sonar in a Sentence

They detected the submarine by using sonar.

Recent Examples on the Web

Vania said the Kenai River sonar counter has been seeing large numbers of blips coming into the river this spring, indicating a strong run of early season sockeye. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Fishing expected to be good when Russian River opens at midnight," 11 June 2019 Denver has called off an underwater, drone and sonar search for a 74-year-old man and his dog who were reported missing Sunday afternoon at Harvey Park Lake after his boat drifted ashore. Kirk Mitchell, The Denver Post, "Divers searched for elderly Denver man and dog in Harvey Park Lake," 3 June 2019 Caravan Outfitters also offers extras like bike carriers, a Yakima roof box, and a sonar bumper warning system. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Modular camper van sleeps two and hauls gear, asks $37K," 22 Oct. 2018 The late Clancy’s great gift — translated well here by the filmmakers — was his ability to turn true-to-life technical details about sonar systems and magnetic propulsion into gripping plot points. Noel Murray, The Verge, "Before Amazon’s Jack Ryan, Alec Baldwin played the definitive version of the character in Hunt for Red October," 31 Aug. 2018 This necessitated nuclear propulsion, a deep diving capability, powerful sonar, and long range guided weapons. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Navy’s Next Attack Submarine Will Be Big, Expensive," 22 Oct. 2018 During the war, the U.S. Navy developed new technology like sonar and echo sounding to hunt for German submarines. Meg Neal, Popular Mechanics, "We’ve Been Wrong Before: The Expanding Earth Theory," 3 Aug. 2018 About a year ago, Japanese researchers spotted the shipwreck on sonar not far from where the Hiei was reported sunk in 1942. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Sunken Japanese World War II Battleship Discovered Off Solomon Islands," 7 Feb. 2019 The five AUVs used in the search are equipped with side-scan sonar, multi-beam echo-sounder for seabed mapping, an HD camera, and synthetic aperture sonar. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Doomed Argentine sub found a year after its disappearance," 19 Nov. 2018

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

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First Known Use of sonar

1943, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sonar

sound navigation ranging

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Statistics for sonar

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for sonar

The first known use of sonar was in 1943

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More Definitions for sonar



English Language Learners Definition of sonar

: a device used for finding things that are underwater by using sound waves


so·​nar | \ ˈsō-ˌnär How to pronounce sonar (audio) \

Kids Definition of sonar

: a device for detecting objects underwater using reflected sound waves

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More from Merriam-Webster on sonar

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sonar

Spanish Central: Translation of sonar

Nglish: Translation of sonar for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sonar

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to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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