sub·​son·​ic | \ ˌsəb-ˈsä-nik How to pronounce subsonic (audio) \

Definition of subsonic

1 : of, relating to, or being a speed less than that of sound in air
2 : moving, capable of moving, or utilizing air currents moving at a subsonic speed

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Other Words from subsonic

subsonically \ ˌsəb-​ˈsä-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce subsonically (audio) \ adverb

Examples of subsonic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Their high speed, low passenger capacity, limited cargo space and refueling requirements for trans-oceanic flights would make the jets five to seven times as carbon intensive per passenger as subsonic aircraft, according to the think tank., "Global warming may kill the new era of supersonic travel before it even begins," 28 June 2019 This would give the subsonic attack jet the range to strike distant targets, perhaps bombing enemy air defenses to allow manned jets to slip through. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia’s First Autonomous Strike Drone Will Fly This Summer," 5 June 2019 Threats include noise from seismic surveys for oil and gas and ship traffic, which interfere with their subsonic communication. Janet Mcconnaughey, The Seattle Times, "NOAA: Bryde’s whales in Gulf of Mexico are endangered," 12 Apr. 2019 In 2017, the Navy and Raytheon used the combination of a F-35 and SM-6 missile to destroy a subsonic target. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "F-35, Ground Rocket Launcher Team Up to Destroy Target with Pinpoint Accuracy," 8 Oct. 2018 The subsonic missiles are capable of flying up to 900 miles, staying low to evade enemy air defenses, and delivering a 1,000 pound high explosive warhead with an accuracy of within 10 meters. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The USS Fitzgerald Is Built to Take Abuse," 19 June 2017 In addition to operating intercontinental ballistic missile silos, the North Dakota base is home to the B-52 Stratofortress, the long-range heavy bomber capable of flying at high subsonic speeds and dropping nuclear warheads on enemy targets. Paul Sonne, Washington Post, "Air Force base that lost explosives: We’re also missing a machine gun," 18 May 2018 It was powered by a Teledyne Technologies J402 turbojet engine, which pushed the 14-foot-long cruise missile at subsonic speeds to distances of just over 200 miles. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Pentagon’s New Strike Missile Just Saw Its First Combat," 17 Apr. 2018 As a cruise missile, the DF-10A flies low and subsonic, ideally flying below enemy air defense radars. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Asia’s Quiet Missile Race," 2 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'subsonic.' 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 subsonic

1920, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for subsonic

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Last Updated

16 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for subsonic

The first known use of subsonic was in 1920

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English Language Learners Definition of subsonic

: slower than the speed of sound

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a usually brief trip or an expedition

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