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shock wave

a region of abrupt change of pressure and density moving as a wave front at or above the velocity of sound, caused by an intense explosion or supersonic flow over a body.
a repercussion from a startling event or upheaval; series of aftereffects:
shock waves from the recent collapse of one of the nation's largest banks.
Origin of shock wave
First recorded in 1945-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shock wave
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was a terrific flash of flame and a shock wave of concussion.

    Islands of Space John W Campbell
  • A bullet cracked above his head, so close he felt the shock wave.

    The Green Beret Thomas Edward Purdom
  • In his bachelor apartment, Troy was sprawled on the edge of his bed when the first shock wave struck.

    The Thirst Quenchers Rick Raphael
  • Whenever a shock wave strikes something of different density, its direction and velocity change.

    The Flaming Mountain Harold Leland Goodwin
  • What would the situation there be as to the shock wave which you have heretofore described?

    Warren Commission (6 of 26): Hearings Vol. VI (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
  • The shock wave hit Gordon, knocking him from his feet into the crowd around him.

    Police Your Planet Lester del Rey
  • As the plane roared on—rocking from the shock wave of the explosion—Joe saw a crater and a boiling cloud of smoke and flying sand.

    Space Platform Murray Leinster
  • The ultradrive had just one slight drawback: it set up a shock wave that made suns explode.

    Time Fuze Gordon Randall Garrett
British Dictionary definitions for shock wave

shock wave

a region across which there is a rapid pressure, temperature, and density rise, usually caused by a body moving supersonically in a gas or by a detonation Often shortened to shock See also sonic boom, shock tube
a feeling of shock, horror, surprise, etc that affects many people as it spreads through a community
the effect created on a queue of moving cars in the lane of a motorway when one car brakes suddenly and the cars behind have to brake as well, causing cars to slow down, sometimes for miles behind the first braking car
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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shock wave in Science
shock wave  
A large-amplitude wave formed by the sudden compression of the medium through which the wave moves. Shock waves can be caused by explosions or by objects moving through a fluid at a speed greater than the speed of sound.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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