tran·​son·​ic | \ tran(t)s-ˈsä-nik How to pronounce transonic (audio) , tran-ˈsä- \
variants: or less commonly transsonic

Definition of transonic

1 : 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
2 : moving, capable of moving, or utilizing air currents moving at a transonic speed

Examples of transonic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Boeing's transonic speeds would match what today's airliners achieve (typically in the 400- to 600-mph range, for physics reasons). Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Boeing's "Transonic" Wings Will Carry Airliners to Nearly the Speed of Sound at Higher Altitudes," 9 Jan. 2019 So, too, were Breedlove and his Spirit of America, setting the stage for a transatlantic, transonic shoot-out. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Bloodhound SSC: How do you build a car capable of 1,000mph?," 24 Nov. 2018 Insufficient transonic acceleration showed up, too. Eric Tegler, Popular Mechanics, "Why the F/A-18 Is Such a Badass Plane," 29 Dec. 2016 Wings can be designed so that transonic airflow remains smooth at certain speeds without generating shock waves. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "Cathleen Morawetz, Mathematician With Real-World Impact, Dies at 94," 11 Aug. 2017

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

See More

First Known Use of transonic

1945, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for transonic

trans- + supersonic

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about transonic

Time Traveler for transonic

Time Traveler

The first known use of transonic was in 1945

See more words from the same year

Statistics for transonic

Cite this Entry

“Transonic.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 26 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on transonic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with transonic

Comments on transonic

What made you want to look up transonic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to express in a more acceptable way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!