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: a sharp sound like that of a striking bullet
: the pulse of sound waves reflected from or emitted by a submerged object in submarine signaling or detection and heard by special apparatus
Baylor … trained his sound unit from one bearing to another, listening for submarines. It threw out a directional sound beam, a series of "pings." These pings, if they hit a solid object like a submarine, reflected back to the operator.William J. Lederer
: a signal sent from one computer to another across a network for usually diagnostic purposes (as to determine network speed or the status of the target computer)
With Napster, however, all you have to do is type in the name of the song or artist and up will pop 2,745 Phish songs sorted by the host computer's type of modem connection and ping rate.Karl Taro Greenfeld


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pinged; pinging; pings

intransitive verb

: to make a ping
: to ricochet with a ping
gravel pinging off … the carMargaret Atwood

transitive verb

: to cause to ping
ping a bell
: to locate (something, such as a submerged object or submarine) by detecting the reflection of a pulse of sound waves : to send out a ping (see ping entry 1 sense 3) in order to locate (something)
We will have to follow this big old boy on the surface and then try to ping him with the sonar when he dives.Corwin Ericson
: to send a signal to (a computer) in order to determine its status or the status of the connecting network
Without realizing what he was doing, he pinged every server in a .gov domain. Next day, his ISP canceled his account; the retribution was swift and uncompromising.Bill Machrone
: to send a signal to (a device, such as a cell phone) in order to determine its status or location
Howell officers warned police agencies across the state. … Police pinged the man's phone to get its location.Andrew Ford
: to send a usually brief message (such as a text message) or notification to (a person, a person's phone, etc.)
… provides an opportunity to check the time or see who pinged you while you were coming down the mountain …Wired

Examples of ping in a Sentence

Verb Pebbles pinged off the car.
Recent Examples on the Web
The video post showed Smith sleeping on a boat at sea surrounded by a variety of pinging sounds and ringtones. Escher Walcott, Peoplemag, 16 Oct. 2023 Randy Carlson was at a Cars & Coffee event in Orange County, California, when his phone pinged. Brendan McAleer, Car and Driver, 19 Aug. 2023 Other sensors estimate your location by pinging nearby cellphone towers and still others by estimating location from WiFi connections. Shira Ovide, Washington Post, 7 Nov. 2023 But even professional fact-checkers have expressed concern at how many falsehoods from Israel and Gaza have pinged around the world in recent weeks. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 Oct. 2023 Mac Lang, 23, was still awake in Columbus, Ohio, last Saturday when push alerts from Israeli news outlets — a legacy of his time studying abroad in Jerusalem — began pinging his phone. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, 15 Oct. 2023 But one of the missing relative's cellphone pinged from Gaza on Saturday, leading her and her surviving relatives to believe the family is being held hostage there. Anna Schecter, NBC News, 12 Oct. 2023 Which was why her phone was on the table when the news alerts started pinging Thursday night. Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Washington Post, 25 Aug. 2023 Emergency sirens could be heard late Wednesday afternoon in parts of Providence, Rhode Island, as cell phones pinged with a tornado warning. Michael Casey and Kathy McCormack, Chicago Tribune, 13 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History




First Known Use


1855, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1855, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ping was in 1855

Dictionary Entries Near ping

Cite this Entry

“Ping.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a sharp sound like that of a bullet striking
ping verb

Geographical Definition


geographical name

river 360 miles (579 kilometers) long in western Thailand flowing south-southeast to join the Nan River forming the Chao Phraya River

More from Merriam-Webster on ping

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