sten·​to·​ri·​an sten-ˈtȯr-ē-ən How to pronounce stentorian (audio)
: extremely loud
spoke in stentorian tones

Did you know?

The Greek herald Stentor was known for having a voice that came through loud and clear. In fact, in the Iliad, Homer described Stentor as a man whose voice was as loud as that of fifty men together. Stentor's powerful voice made him a natural choice for delivering announcements and proclamations to the assembled Greek army during the Trojan War, and it also made his name a byword for any person with a loud, strong voice. Both the noun stentor and the related adjective stentorian pay homage to the big-voiced warrior, and both have been making noise in English since the early 17th century.

Choose the Right Synonym for stentorian

loud, stentorian, earsplitting, raucous, strident mean marked by intensity or volume of sound.

loud applies to any volume above normal and may suggest undue vehemence or obtrusiveness.

loud shouts of protest

stentorian implies great power and range.

an actor with a stentorian voice

earsplitting implies loudness that is physically discomforting.

the earsplitting sound of a siren

raucous implies a loud harsh grating tone, especially of voice, and may suggest rowdiness.

the raucous shouts of drunken revelers

strident implies a rasping discordant but insistent quality, especially of voice.

the strident voices of hecklers

Examples of stentorian in a Sentence

the professor's stentorian voice was enough to keep even the drowsiest student awake
Recent Examples on the Web Filmed while pregnant with her first daughter, the comedian cracks wry, filthy, and culturally specific jokes in a stentorian voice with equal shades of formidability and shrewd wit. Eric Farwell,, 9 Jan. 2024 The quietly ominous rumble at the start of Tesori’s score gives way to a chorus of fliers whose stentorian march morphs into a neo-Baroque fugue. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 29 Oct. 2023 There is, of course, our old friend Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen), leader of the Autobots, who transforms out of a cool red Freightliner semi-truck and issues his commands in a voice that’s noble, stentorian, maybe even a dash Shakespearean. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 5 June 2023 This documentary offers an up close and personal look at one of Hollywood’s most compelling and idiosyncratic talents, a man with a stentorian voice and distinctive cadence who has transfixed generations of movie and TV fans. Diane Garrett, Variety, 6 Mar. 2023 Vocal standouts included Máté Sólyom-Nagy’s rugged Figaro, Florence Losseau’s spicy Cherubino, and Kakhaber Shavidze’s stentorian Bartolo. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 13 June 2022 The stentorian bass Franz-Josef Selig made a robust, good-natured Daland. New York Times, 3 Mar. 2020 Unfortunately, Pressley’s stentorian affect detracts from the authenticity of the dialogue between Washington and his contemporaries, undermining Coe’s argument that the founders were people too, just like us. Tatiana Schlossberg, New York Times, 29 Apr. 2020 His replacement as the Dutchman, Evgeny Nikitin, was monochromatic and stentorian, and his steely bass-baritone expressed none of the Dutchman’s anguish or mystery. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, 4 Mar. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'stentorian.' 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

1605, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of stentorian was in 1605


Dictionary Entries Near stentorian

Cite this Entry

“Stentorian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


sten·​to·​ri·​an sten-ˈtōr-ē-ən How to pronounce stentorian (audio)
: very loud
a stentorian voice

from Stentōr, a Greek messenger at the time of the Trojan War noted for having a very loud voice

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