sounding board

noun

Definition of sounding board

1a : a structure behind or over a pulpit, rostrum, or platform to give distinctness and sonority to sound
b : a device or agency that helps propagate opinions or utterances
c : a person or group on whom one tries out an idea or opinion as a means of evaluating it

The Literal Origins of Sounding Board

Beginning during the Renaissance, a flat wooden canopy called a sounding board was placed over church pulpits, amplifying the sound of the preacher's voice, carrying it to the farthest reaches of the church. Similarly, ideas can be spread by a figurative sounding board. A publication, for example, can be a sounding board for propaganda. That's one modern sense of the word. But when sound bounces off a literal sounding board, not only does it reach more people, it also comes across more clearly. Likewise, bouncing ideas off another person can lend clarity to one's thought processes. If someone comes to you and says "How does this sound?" and leaves with his or her mind made up (whether or not you've ventured a word), you have served as a very effective sounding board.

Examples of sounding board in a Sentence

My friend is my sounding board for new ideas.
Recent Examples on the Web Billick should be a good sounding board for offensive coordinator Zak Hill, who has served in that role at ASU for two seasons. Michelle Gardner, USA TODAY, 25 Jan. 2022 Even though Twitter serves as a sounding board for political leaders and experts across industries, other social platforms, like Facebook and Tik Tok, outrank Twitter by number of total users. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2022 Billick should be a good sounding board for offensive coordinator Zak Hill, who has served in that role at ASU for two seasons. Michelle Gardner, USA TODAY, 25 Jan. 2022 Salespeople know why prospects don't buy, are elbow-deep in the product experience and are a sounding board for customer feedback. Vanessa Dreifuss, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 Throughout the last two seasons, Brooks has been a key sounding board for younger teammates. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, 4 Apr. 2022 Billick should be a good sounding board for offensive coordinator Zak Hill, who has served in that role at ASU for two seasons. Michelle Gardner, USA TODAY, 25 Jan. 2022 Billick should be a good sounding board for offensive coordinator Zak Hill, who has served in that role at ASU for two seasons. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, 24 Jan. 2022 Hoyer, who will be heading into his 14th season, was an important mentor and sounding board for Jones as the first-round pick navigated his way through his rookie season. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 14 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sounding board.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of sounding board

1729, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of sounding board was in 1729

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Dictionary Entries Near sounding board

sounding balloon

sounding board

sounding lead

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Statistics for sounding board

Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sounding board.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sounding%20board. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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