tran·​son·​ic tran(t)s-ˈsä-nik How to pronounce transonic (audio)
variants or less commonly transsonic
: being or relating to speeds near that of sound in air or about 741 miles (1185 kilometers) per hour at sea level and especially to speeds slightly below the speed of sound at which the speed of airflow varies from subsonic to supersonic at different points along the surface of a body in motion relative to the surrounding air
: moving, capable of moving, or utilizing air currents moving at a transonic speed

Examples of transonic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Further down on the spectrum are subsonic and transonic, which are used to describe scenarios where objects are traveling either much slower than, or near, the speed of sound. Emily Mae Czachor, CBS News, 5 June 2023 The team said its sixth-generation transonic wing modeling capabilities and new aircraft control architecture have made significant contributions to the design. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, 30 May 2023 With the help of a control system based on NI’s user-programmable FPGA instruments, the team developed a prototype of an air-bearing levitation system that allows a pod to achieve transonic speeds. David Wilson, IEEE Spectrum, 23 Jan. 2019 Following modifications, however, integration tests are apparently proceeding well, with a series of seven F-35B jump jet test-drops concluded in September of 2022—with two high-speed releases at transonic Mach .9 speeds. Sébastien Roblin, Popular Mechanics, 9 Apr. 2023 The Solution The Texas Guadaloop team based at The University of Texas at Austin is designing a Hyperloop pod system to travel at transonic speeds. David Wilson, IEEE Spectrum, 23 Jan. 2019 These waves cause transonic instability. Anna Russel, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2021 This schlieren image shows an Air Force Test Pilot School T-38 in a transonic state, meaning the aircraft is transitioning from a subsonic speed to supersonic. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 18 Dec. 2017 That way, the pilot could anticipate transonic instability. Anna Russel, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'transonic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


trans- + supersonic

First Known Use

1945, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of transonic was in 1945

Dictionary Entries Near transonic

Cite this Entry

“Transonic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

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