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 This shape sends supersonic shockwaves away from the aircraft in a way that prevents them from coming together in two sonic booms, according to the agency’s website. Alex Stuckey, San Antonio Express-News, "NASA plans supersonic jet that could cut commercial flight times in half," 12 Apr. 2018 The fireball was traveling at about 33,500 mph and caused a sonic boom, NASA scientists said, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Fox News, "Meteor that lit up St. Louis sky was 220-pound fireball that broke off asteroid belt: NASA," 13 Nov. 2019 Dinosaurs still alive in Montana would have had their eardrums ripped apart by a deafening sonic boom. Fox News, "Minute by minute accounts of how asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs devastated Earth," 9 Oct. 2019 While the idea of supersonic flight has captivated travelers ever since Concorde's swan song, the problem of a loud sonic boom has persisted and prevented potential successors from ferrying passengers at supersonic speeds. Howard Slutsken, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Competition to Bring Back Supersonic Flight Is Heating Up," 28 Aug. 2019 They are used to sonic booms from speeding aircraft rattling their windows. NBC News, "'Here we go again': Communities near Area 51 brace for influx of UFO tourists," 27 July 2019 After two sonic booms, three huge parachutes slowed the descent to the Pacific Ocean. Washington Post, "After first steps on moon, crew welcomed home with aloha," 28 July 2019 Jet2 said the jets caused a sonic boom that was heard for miles. Time Staff, Time, "A Passenger Was Fined $105,000 and Banned for Life for 'Extremely Disruptive Behavior' on an Airplane," 19 July 2019 Several residents in Derby, a city 128 miles north of London, reported hearing a loud bang around 10 a.m. local time (5 a.m. ET), which has since been linked to the sonic boom of the fighter jets. Simon Cullen, Zahid Mahmood And Tara John, CNN, "Air India flight in emergency landing at London Stansted after bomb threat," 27 June 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of sonic boom was in 1952

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Statistics for sonic boom

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sonic boom.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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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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