son·​ic | \ˈsä-nik \

Definition of sonic 

1 : utilizing, produced by, or relating to sound waves sonic altimeter broadly : of or involving sound sonic pollution

2 : having a frequency within the audibility range of the human ear used of waves and vibrations

3 : of, relating to, or being the speed of sound in air or about 761 miles per hour (1224 kilometers per hour) at sea level at 59°F (15°C)

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Other Words from sonic

sonically \ˈsä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Did You Know?

A sonic boom is an explosive sound created by a shock wave formed at the nose of an aircraft. In 1947 a plane piloted by Chuck Yeager burst the "sound barrier" and created the first sonic boom. In the decades afterward sonic booms became a familiar sound to Americans. (Because of steps that were eventually taken, sonic booms are rarely heard anymore.) Today sonic is often used by ambitious rock musicians to describe their experimental sounds.

Examples of sonic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Ever the Marvel fan, Mikel-Stites pushed for Dazzler, who has sonoluminescent powers (think the sonic shock wave produced by the powerful snap of a mantis shrimp's claw, writ large). Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Insect-inspired microfluidics could help Ant-Man and the Wasp breathe," 18 Nov. 2018 The sound driver inside each ear cup has been tuned to match the sonic signature of Audio-Technica’s previous model, and the built-in digital to analog converter further ensures a consistent sound, no matter what device is connected. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Audio-Technica makes its best-selling M50x headphones wireless," 30 Oct. 2018 In the music, as in the poem, there are many sonic images of nature: birds, bugs, water, wind, rain, as well as plants intertwining. Tom Keogh, The Seattle Times, "Philharmonia Northwest presents old and new music created entirely by Seattle composers," 14 Nov. 2018 The nine-track release marked a sonic transition for the singer, who shed her electronic-forward sound for a stronger R&B influence. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Alina Baraz Didn't Know She Could Sing When She Made Her First EP. Now She's a Rising R&B Star.," 5 Oct. 2018 The audio experience gets more impressive outside, where a subterranean subwoofer provides sonic power underneath our feet while blending into the landscape. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Designing a smart home for seamless entertainment," 4 Sep. 2018 Aretha Franklin, the undisputed Queen of Soul who blessed the world with her powerful sonic prowess for decades, died on Thursday, August 16 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Devon Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Barack and Michelle Obama Pay Tribute to Aretha Franklin," 16 Aug. 2018 Possible explanations range from sonic weapons to an infection to mass hysteria to some sort of toxic exposure or even a drug. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Why we still don’t know what’s going on with ‘sonic attacks’ in Cuba and China," 15 June 2018 Guesses and notions of what could explain their experiences and injuries abound, including malfunctioning surveillance equipment and a covert sonic weapon. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "US gov’t employee in China left with brain injury after strange sounds, pressure," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sonic.' 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 sonic

1918, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for sonic

Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sonic

The first known use of sonic was in 1918

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More Definitions for sonic



English Language Learners Definition of sonic

: of or relating to sound, sound waves, or the speed of sound


son·​ic | \ˈsä-nik \

Kids Definition of sonic

: using, produced by, or relating to sound waves


son·​ic | \ˈsän-ik \

Medical Definition of sonic 

1 : having a frequency within the audibility range of the human ear used of waves and vibrations

2 : utilizing, produced by, or relating to sound waves a sonic device used to rupture cell walls

Other Words from sonic

sonically \-​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on sonic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sonic

Spanish Central: Translation of sonic

Nglish: Translation of sonic for Spanish Speakers

Comments on sonic

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


living or existing for a long time

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