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 Military or civilian, any aircraft traveling faster than Mach-1 creates a shock wave, a sonic boom. Thomas E. Stimson, Popular Mechanics, "Remembering the B-70: The Weird Supersonic Bomber That Never Was," 11 Feb. 2021 Should the plane exceed the speed of sound — dubbed Mach 1 — the waves coalesce into a potentially destructive shock wave called a sonic boom. Quanta Magazine, "The NASA Engineer Who’s a Mathematician at Heart," 19 Jan. 2021 The key difference in the sodramjet is that the new design uses the sonic boom to add combustion, not blow it out. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "The Experimental Engine That Could Get Us Anywhere in the World in 2 Hours," 2 Dec. 2020 Based in the Mojave Desert, jets of all speeds and sizes can be seen flying above miles of dry lake bed, and felt throughout the day each time a sonic boom pulses over the surrounding valley. Jaide Timm-garcia, CNN, "Air Force graduates its largest class of female test pilots and engineers in history," 19 Dec. 2020 The fighter plane draws a thin, white line across the blue sky, passing overhead in silence for some 20 seconds before the double clap of a sonic boom breaks the desert quiet. Rob Verger, Popular Science, "Chuck Yeager has died at 97, but the legacy of his record-breaking flight lives on," 8 Dec. 2020 The aircraft aims to travel at Mach 1.42 while producing a sonic boom at about the noise level of a vacuum cleaner. Aarian Marshall, Wired, "Chuck Yeager's 1947 Flight Inspired Our Supersonic Ambitions," 8 Dec. 2020 The sonic boom that accompanied the breakthrough notified the crew on the ground that Yeager had made history. Derek Wallbank,, "Chuck Yeager, U.S. Pilot Who Broke the Sound Barrier, Dies at 97," 8 Dec. 2020 In a 1985 memoir, Yeager famously expressed his sense of disappointment at crossing the threshold of sound and creating the world’s first sonic boom. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Chuck Yeager," 8 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for sonic boom

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The first known use of sonic boom was in 1952

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Statistics for sonic boom

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sonic boom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on sonic boom

Nglish: Translation of sonic boom for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sonic boom

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