son·​ic | \ ˈsä-nik How to pronounce sonic (audio) \

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 How to pronounce sonically (audio) \ 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

His works are all about experimentation -- the amalgamation of sonic and visual arts and the deconstruction of instruments' mechanisms and physicality. Karla Cripps, CNN, "Meet the rebel Thai composer taking music to unheard heights," 10 July 2019 The book is at its best when tracing the lyric and sonic collages of art rock and its offshoots to Burroughs’s groundbreaking use of literary cut-ups — the snipping and reassembling of texts to form new texts. Alexander C. Kafka, Houston Chronicle, "How David Bowie, Jimmy Page, Patti Smith and other musicians fell for William S. Burroughs," 29 June 2019 The breakneck tempos and crushing chords were replaced with feedback and moodiness, not to mention a sonic style that crossed bands such the Yardbirds, the Velvet Underground and Flipper. John Petkovic,, "Punk pioneer Tommy Strange returns to Ohio with band His Name is Joe," 4 May 2018 There’s this sonic real estate that’s so available. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Justin Timberlake Talks Dropping Genre Labels in Beats 1 Interview: 'I'm Going To Do Whatever I Want'," 18 Jan. 2018 But opinions differ about what this sonic analogue of a black hole reveals about the real kind — such as the one recently seen in silhouette in a first-ever photograph. Quanta Magazine, "Philosophers Debate New ‘Sonic Black Hole’ Discovery," 30 June 2019 These performers cast aside the Fab Four’s long shadow by abandoning any pretense of sonic loyalty and forcing the songs’ soul subtexts out into the open. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "Yesterday’s Beatles Covers Don’t Come Together. Here’s How the Movie Could Have Done Them Justice," 28 June 2019 The bath visual fits all the sonic details that seem to bubble and fizz, and many passages of the songs impart the sensation of dunking and resurfacing. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Hot Chip Hones the Meaning of ‘Ecstasy’," 25 June 2019 This is teeth-gnashing, jungle snarl dubstep, chopped up into a stitch-work sonic palette that plays like popcorn on your ears. Kat Bein, Billboard, "New Music Friday: 5 of This Week's Best Tracks From Skrillex & Troyboi, Pryda, More," 21 June 2019

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

20 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce sonic (audio) \

Kids Definition of sonic

: using, produced by, or relating to sound waves


son·​ic | \ ˈsän-ik How to pronounce sonic (audio) \

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 How to pronounce sonically (audio) \ 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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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