sound

1 of 7

noun (1)

1
a
: a particular auditory impression : tone
b
: the sensation perceived by the sense of hearing
c
: mechanical radiant energy that is transmitted by longitudinal pressure waves in a material medium (such as air) and is the objective cause of hearing
2
a
: a speech sound
a peculiar r-sound
b
: value in terms of speech sounds
-cher of teacher and -ture of creature have the same sound
3
a
: meaningless noise
b
: the impression conveyed : import
c
obsolete : meaning
4
: hearing distance : earshot
within sound of your voice
5
: recorded auditory material
6
: a particular musical style characteristic of an individual, a group, or an area
the Nashville sound
7
archaic : rumor, fame

sound

2 of 7

verb (1)

sounded; sounding; sounds

transitive verb

1
a
: to cause to sound
sound a trumpet
2
: to put into words : voice
3
a
: to make known : proclaim
b
: to order, signal, or indicate by a sound
sound the alarm
4
: to examine by causing to emit sounds
sound the lungs
5
chiefly British : to convey the impression of : sound like
that sounds a logical use of resourcesEconomist

intransitive verb

1
a
: to make a sound
b
c
: to give a summons by sound
the bugle sounds to battle
2
: to make or convey an impression especially when heard
it sounds good to me
you sound just like your mother
soundable adjective

sound

3 of 7

adjective

1
a
: free from injury or disease
of sound mind
b
: free from flaw, defect, or decay
sound timber
2
a
: solid, firm
sound construction
b
: stable
a sound economy
also : secure, reliable
sound investments
3
a
: free from error, fallacy, or misapprehension
sound advice
sound reasoning
b
: exhibiting or based on thorough knowledge and experience
sound scholarship
c
: legally valid
a sound title
d
: logically valid and having true premises
a sound estimate
e
: agreeing with accepted views : orthodox
sound doctrine
4
a
: thorough
a sound recovery
b
: deep and undisturbed
a sound sleep
c
: hard, severe
a sound whipping
5
: showing good judgment or sense
a sound advisor
soundly adverb
soundness noun

sound

4 of 7

adverb

: to the full extent : thoroughly
sound asleep

sound

5 of 7

noun (2)

1
a
: a long broad inlet of the ocean generally parallel to the coast
b
: a long passage of water connecting two larger bodies (such as a sea with the ocean) or separating a mainland and an island
2
: the air bladder of a fish

sound

6 of 7

verb (2)

sounded; sounding; sounds

transitive verb

1
: to measure the depth of : fathom
2
: to try to find out the views or intentions of : probe
often used with out
3
: to explore or examine (a body cavity) with a sound

intransitive verb

1
a
: to ascertain the depth of water especially with a sounding line
b
: to look into or investigate the possibility
sent commissioners … to sound for peaceThomas Jefferson
2
: to dive down suddenly
used of a fish or whale

sound

7 of 7

noun (3)

: an elongated instrument for exploring or sounding body cavities

Did you know?

English contains several sound homographs, all with distinct histories. For example, the sound that means "something heard" descends from Latin sonus ("sound"), whereas the sound that means "to measure the depth of water" traces to Middle French sonde ("sounding line"). Another sound, as in "of sound mind and body," is the contemporary form of Old English's gesund. Gesund is related to several words in other languages, such as Old Saxon gisund ("sound"), Old Frisian sund ("fresh, unharmed, healthy"), and Gothic swinths ("sound" or "healthy"). Another relative is Old High German's gisunt ("healthy"), which led to modern German's gesund, the root of gesundheit.

Choose the Right Synonym for sound

healthy, sound, wholesome, robust, hale, well mean enjoying or indicative of good health.

healthy implies full strength and vigor as well as freedom from signs of disease.

a healthy family

sound emphasizes the absence of disease, weakness, or malfunction.

a sound heart

wholesome implies appearance and behavior indicating soundness and balance.

a face with a wholesome glow

robust implies the opposite of all that is delicate or sickly.

a lively, robust little boy

hale applies particularly to robustness in old age.

still hale at the age of eighty

well implies merely freedom from disease or illness.

she has never been a well person

valid, sound, cogent, convincing, telling mean having such force as to compel serious attention and usually acceptance.

valid implies being supported by objective truth or generally accepted authority.

a valid reason for being absent
a valid marriage

sound implies a basis of flawless reasoning or of solid grounds.

a sound proposal for reviving the economy

cogent may stress either weight of sound argument and evidence or lucidity of presentation.

the prosecutor's cogent summation won over the jury

convincing suggests a power to overcome doubt, opposition, or reluctance to accept.

a convincing argument for welfare reform

telling stresses an immediate and crucial effect striking at the heart of a matter.

a telling example of bureaucratic waste

Examples of sound in a Sentence

Adjective a building of sound construction The bridge is structurally sound. a sound mind in a sound body The tests show that his heart is sound. She used sound reasoning in making the decision. She gave us some sound advice. She has a sound understanding of the system's structure. The stock market has made a sound recovery. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
My dad never got to sing those songs in front of an audience that big, at Coachella, of people who adore him and his sound and his message. Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone, 15 Feb. 2024 After dropping out of college to pursue music full-time during the pandemic, the band toyed with an upbeat modern indie/pop sound in the vein of early COIN or The 1975. Tess Growney, SPIN, 15 Feb. 2024 The company is claiming the new speakers offer a convenient and cost-effective way to fill a home with imposing sound from a compact pair of loudspeakers. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 The famed version slows down the track, brings Marley’s lyrics to the forefront and adds back-up vocalists to emphasize the inspirational lyrics and takes on a much heavier reggae sound. Sadie Bell, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024 The cast performs these old-time-radio-style foley effects in full view, giving deaf or hard-of-hearing members of the audience a visual cue to associate with each sound. Chris Klimek, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2024 Not many of your songs before this had such a prominent guitar sound to it, but this one is pretty rocking. Andrew Unterberger, Billboard, 14 Feb. 2024 The Caribbean country is known for its sound above all else, having gifted the globe with six genres of music: reggae, dancehall, dub, ska, rocksteady, and mento. Annie Daly, Vogue, 14 Feb. 2024 Their sound is certainly loud—too loud at more than 75% volume—and provides both clear instrumentals and a welcome bit of bass, but is rather hollow when turned up. Eric Grevstad, PCMAG, 1 Feb. 2024
Verb
But redshirt senior forward Patrick McCaffery knifed through the heart of the Terps’ defense to bank in a layup just before the buzzer sounded to send Iowa into halftime with a 37-31 lead. Edward Lee, Baltimore Sun, 15 Feb. 2024 This might sound a bit short for its $20 price tag, but my playthrough ended with a paltry 51% completion rate, and new characters and story threads appeared until the very end. Matt Gardner, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Egypt has now sounded alarms again as Israel prepares for its military operation in Rafah. Paul P. Murphy, CNN, 15 Feb. 2024 Agrippa says that while that may sound low to some, she was touched. Will Henshall, TIME, 14 Feb. 2024 Though men paying for women might sound harmless, Dr. Leaper said, the gesture is a form of sexism by which traditional gender norms are reinforced. Santul Nerkar, New York Times, 14 Feb. 2024 The new tracks indicate a country sound the singer has spent years crafting in sound, style, and spirit. Charisma Madarang, Rolling Stone, 14 Feb. 2024 These descriptions should sound familiar to any creator online. Charlie Warzel, The Atlantic, 14 Feb. 2024 Then, on May 1 around 4:30 a.m., the ship’s chief engineer sounded an emergency alarm as the Arlington started to take on water. Kelsey Ables, Washington Post, 13 Feb. 2024
Adjective
Sign up for her newsletter to start your mornings off with some sound advice. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 The 4th-generation Amazon Echo (8/10, WIRED Recommends) has better sound quality than its predecessors. Louryn Strampe, WIRED, 16 Feb. 2024 Scholars discovered a lot of these sound shift patterns, each obeying different rules, as one language gave birth to another. Kurt Kleiner, Discover Magazine, 16 Feb. 2024 New for Los Angeles is a sound bath, with art from Randy Polumbo — think reflective surfaces, amorphic shapes and synchronized sound. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2024 Lessons for Adoption Pacific bitcoin focuses mostly on the sound money aspects of bitcoin (at least on the main stage). Korok Ray, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 Other features could include night-lights, sound machines, and fans. Kelsey Kunik, Parents, 15 Feb. 2024 Now and again, a scent, sound, or taste can transport us back to those comforting and magical moments. Essence, 13 Feb. 2024 The fiscal guardrails established a series of sound principles to limit excessive government-spending growth. Bryce Chinault, National Review, 13 Feb. 2024
Adverb
The garbage disposal features a generous 0.75 horsepower motor that is sound-insulated. Kaitlyn McInnis, Better Homes & Gardens, 24 Mar. 2023 Some examples include watches with alarms, visual timers, sound-blocking headphones, and calculators. Lisa Jo Rudy, Verywell Health, 7 Mar. 2023 There could be sound-absorbing qualities, too, which gave the ceilings their other name: acoustical ceilings. John Kelly, Washington Post, 19 Feb. 2023 Porsche also outfitted lightweight glass and a slinkier battery, whittled out some of the sound-deadening material, and even deleted the rear seat. Tim Stevens, Ars Technica, 23 Nov. 2022 Every practice and bus ride are sound-tracked by a JBL Bluetooth speaker and a steady stream of hits from Adele and Pitbull. BostonGlobe.com, 6 Nov. 2021 Qualifying property owners, who must have their buildings sound-tested, will each receive about $40,000 in upgrades. Los Angeles Times, 23 July 2021 Even more sound-deadening materials arrived for 2004, as did new stereo speakers to take advantage of the ostensibly quieter cabin. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, 29 Apr. 2021 The local fire department said earlier that the main material burning was sound-absorbing cotton. Bloomberg.com, 25 Sep. 2020 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English soun, from Anglo-French son, sun, from Latin sonus, from sonare to sound; akin to Old English swinn melody, Sanskrit svanati it sounds

Adjective

Middle English, from Old English gesund; akin to Old High German gisunt healthy

Noun (2)

Middle English, from Old English sund swimming, sea & Old Norse sund swimming, strait; akin to Old English swimman to swim

Verb (2)

Middle English, from Middle French sonder, from Old French *sonde sounding line, probably from Old English or Middle English sund- (as in Old English sundlīne sounding line) from sund sea

Noun (3)

French sonde, from Middle French, literally, sounding line

First Known Use

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (3)

1739, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sound was in the 13th century

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near sound

Cite this Entry

“Sound.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sound. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

sound

1 of 6 adjective
1
a
: not diseased or weak : healthy
a sound mind in a sound body
b
: free from imperfection or rot
2
: solid entry 1 sense 4, firm
a building of sound construction
3
: not faulty : valid, right
a sound argument
4
a
: thorough sense 1
a sound revenge
b
: not disturbed
a sound sleep
c
: severe sense 3
a sound beating
5
: showing good judgment or sense
sound advice
soundly adverb
soundness noun

sound

2 of 6 adverb
: to the full extent : thoroughly
sound asleep

sound

3 of 6 noun
1
a
: the sensation of hearing
b
: a particular impression obtained by hearing : noise, tone
c
: the energy of vibration that causes the sensation of hearing
2
a
: one of the noises that together make up human speech
the sound of "th" in "this"
b
: a series of spoken noises
3
a
: meaningless noise
b
: the suggestion carried or given by something heard or said
the excuse has a suspicious sound
4
: hearing distance : earshot
within sound of my voice

sound

4 of 6 verb
1
a
: to make or cause to make a sound
b
: resound
the auditorium sounded with applause
c
: resound sense 2
cheers are sounding throughout the gymnasium
d
: to give a signal by sound
the bugle sounds to battle
2
: pronounce sense 3a
sound each word clearly
3
: to put into words : voice
4
a
: to make known : proclaim
b
: to order, signal, or indicate by a sound
sound the alarm
5
: to make or give an impression especially when heard
sounds incredible

sound

5 of 6 noun
: a long passage of water that is wider than a strait and often connects two larger bodies of water or forms a channel between the mainland and an island

sound

6 of 6 verb
1
a
: to measure the depth of (as with a sounding line) : fathom
b
: to look into or investigate the possibility
2
: to try to find out the views or intentions of : probe
sounded me out on the idea
3
: to dive down suddenly
a sounding whale
Etymology

Adjective

Old English gesund "free from injury or disease"

Noun

Middle English soun "a sound, something that can be heard," from early French son (same meaning), from Latin sonus "a sound" — related to unison

Noun

Old English sund "a sea, swimming"

Verb

Middle English sounden "to measure the depth of," from early French sonder (same meaning), from sonde "a line used for measuring depths"; probably of Germanic origin

Medical Definition

sound

1 of 4 adjective
1
: free from injury or disease : exhibiting normal health
2
: deep and undisturbed
a sound sleep
soundness noun

sound

2 of 4 noun
1
: a particular auditory impression
heart sounds heard by auscultation
2
: the sensation perceived by the sense of hearing
3
: mechanical radiant energy that is transmitted by longitudinal pressure waves in a material medium (as air) and is the objective cause of hearing

sound

3 of 4 transitive verb
: to explore or examine (a body cavity) with a sound

sound

4 of 4 noun
: an elongated instrument for exploring or examining body cavities
a uterine sound

Legal Definition

sound

1 of 2 adjective
1
a
: free from injury or disease : exhibiting normal health
b
: free from flaw, defect, or decay
a sound design
2
a
: free from error, fallacy, or misapprehension
based on sound judicial reasoning
b
: legally valid
a sound title
3
: showing good judgment or sense
soundly adverb
soundness noun

sound

2 of 2 intransitive verb
: to be based or founded : have a specified basis for an action
used with in
those remedies for rent which sounded in contractO. W. Holmes, Jr.

More from Merriam-Webster on sound

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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