white noise


Definition of white noise

1a : a heterogeneous mixture of sound waves extending over a wide frequency range — compare pink noise
b : a constant background noise especially : one that drowns out other sounds
2 : meaningless or distracting commotion, hubbub, or chatter the white noise of policy and politics in America— Joseph Nocera

Examples of white noise in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As the cat moves, the sound shifts and changes, evolving from ethereal arias to scratchy white noise. Melissa Locker, Time, "Tentative and Musically Gifted Cat Playing a Theremin Has Given Us the Song of the Season," 11 Mar. 2020 Noise cancelling headphones, or a white noise machine could help with distractions. Mary Kilpatrick, cleveland, "How to work from home without hurting your back or driving your family crazy: Everything you need to know," 29 Apr. 2020 Ryan Prock: Her interviews, the knife … the crime scene, that's the case … everything else is white noise. Jamie Yuccas, CBS News, "Why was the word "boy" carved into the arm of an accused killer?," 8 Feb. 2020 But the one everyone sort of forgets about—that is actually just as effective, if not more so—is a white noise machine. Shayna Murphy, USA TODAY, "20 weird but practical gifts people will actually use," 12 Dec. 2019 Enter Noisli, which can produce an endless stream of simulated sounds—everything from a coffee shop to a forest in a thunderstorm to plain white noise. David Nield, Wired, "14 Apps and Tools to Stave Off Cabin Fever," 29 Mar. 2020 Whenever testimony gets close to the complicity of a person or country in the CIA’s torture program, a red light flashes and white noise floods the public gallery. Dror Ladin, Time, "There's So Much We Still Don't Know About the CIA's Torture Program. Here's How the Government Is Keeping the Full Story a Secret," 7 Feb. 2020 Hidden beyond a doorway and down a long hallway in the Pavilions, Robert Gober’s immersive, untitled 1992 installation at first sounds like relief: the ever- present rush of water, as static as white noise. Kelsey Ables, Washington Post, "In an endless news cycle, art at Glenstone both echoes and quiets the chaos," 30 Jan. 2020 Connecting with nature often involves trading your memory foam mattress for a patch of ground and your white noise machine for singing (and stinging) insects. Popular Science, "Warm, versatile sleeping bags for outdoor adventures," 4 Feb. 2020

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

1943, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for white noise

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The first known use of white noise was in 1943

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Statistics for white noise

Last Updated

19 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“White noise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white%20noise. Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for white noise

white noise


Medical Definition of white noise

: a heterogeneous mixture of sound waves extending over a wide frequency range that has been used to mask out unwanted noise interfering with sleep

called also white sound

More from Merriam-Webster on white noise

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with white noise

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about white noise

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