sonic boom


Definition of sonic boom 

: a sound resembling an explosion produced when a shock wave formed at the nose of an aircraft traveling at supersonic speed reaches the ground

called also sonic bang

Examples of sonic boom in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Photo: Boom Technology Scholl says the aircraft’s shape and size means its sonic booms won’t be as loud as Concorde’s. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "The Future of Flying: Flights Could Be Getting Much Shorter," 19 June 2018 The Concorde’s routes were limited in part because regulators barred supersonic travel over populated areas to protect people on the ground from hearing the loud sonic booms that the plane created. Denise Chow /, NBC News, "Boeing's planned hypersonic airliner could fly from NYC to London in two hours," 28 June 2018 These fighter jets were chasing each other around, sonic booms and even shooting off flares. Mark Freeman, The Seattle Times, "F-15 dogfights shatter the calm in SW Oregon wilderness," 9 July 2018 SoundScan, a technology for tracking music sales and airplay, appeared in 1991 like a sonic boom. Travis M. Andrews,, "Billboard's charts used to be our barometer for music success. Are they meaningless in the streaming age?," 9 July 2018 The bow shock is like Jupiter's sonic boom, while the magnetopause is the physical boundary between the Sun's magnetic field and Jupiter's magnetic field. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Listen to the Sound and Fury of Jupiter as Recorded by Juno," 1 July 2016 The fireball and sonic boom created when the golf-cart-sized meteor slammed into the earth’s atmosphere the evening of March 7 were widely seen and heard along the Washington coast. Sandi Doughton, The Seattle Times, "Meteorite search off the Washington coast recovers two small fragments," 3 July 2018 In the garage a sonic boom, courtesy of a military jet high above the desert, cracks like an overhead cannon shot. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Rocket Man Who Wants To Beat the Billionaires," 14 Oct. 2015 Even before the Concorde’s first commercial flights, the effects of sonic booms caused major concerns. Bill Van Niekerken, San Francisco Chronicle, "When the Concorde supersonic turbojet roared into the Bay Area," 30 May 2018

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

1952, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for sonic boom

The first known use of sonic boom was in 1952

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More Definitions for sonic boom

sonic boom


English Language Learners Definition of sonic boom

: a very loud and explosive noise that is produced by an aircraft when it travels faster than the speed of sound

sonic boom


Kids Definition of sonic boom

: a sound like an explosion that is made by an aircraft traveling faster than the speed of sound

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