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

The 1973 ban on overland supersonic flights in the U.S., due to concerns about the impact of sonic booms, severely limited the market for the Concorde. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "Boeing invests in advanced supersonic business jet," 5 Feb. 2019 Today sonic booms are banned over the continental U.S., meaning the company could fly supersonic only over oceans. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "The Future of Flying: Flights Could Be Getting Much Shorter," 19 June 2018 Over land, the AS2 is intended to cruise at Mach 0.95, to avoid sonic booms that would breach noise regulations. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "Boeing invests in advanced supersonic business jet," 5 Feb. 2019 Now there’s a proposal for the United States to do the same, using the might of the U.S. Air Force to fight America’s raging forest fires via bombs and sonic booms. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Should the U.S. Air Force Bomb Forest Fires?," 8 Aug. 2018 Armed with missiles and a six-barrel cannon, and capable of flying at two-and-a-half times the speed of sound, the planes closed most of the distance to Sea-Tac in four minutes, creating a sonic boom on their way. Matt Day, The Seattle Times, "“We were all screaming, ‘Oh my god’” : How the Horizon Air theft and crash unfolded," 12 Aug. 2018 But in the years since the Concorde’s retirement, Craig said researchers at NASA and elsewhere have made significant strides in mitigating sonic booms caused by supersonic and hypersonic craft. Denise Chow /, NBC News, "Boeing's planned hypersonic airliner could fly from NYC to London in two hours," 28 June 2018 Sometimes, the gas winds collide with each other and produce shock waves that are similar to sonic booms. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Made a 3D Simulation of the Center of the Milky Way," 11 Jan. 2018 On October 15, a sonic boom announced to the world that Green (backed by Noble) was now the fastest man on earth. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Bloodhound SSC: How do you build a car capable of 1,000mph?," 24 Nov. 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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Statistics for sonic boom

Last Updated

29 Apr 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on sonic boom

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sonic boom

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

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