[rez-uh-nuh ns]
See more synonyms for resonance on
  1. the state or quality of being resonant.
  2. the prolongation of sound by reflection; reverberation.
  3. Phonetics.
    1. amplification of the range of audibility of any source of speech sounds, especially of phonation, by various couplings of the cavities of the mouth, nose, sinuses, larynx, pharynx, and upper thorax, and, to some extent, by the skeletal structure of the head and upper chest.
    2. the distribution of amplitudes among interrelated cavities in the head, chest, and throat that are characteristic for a particular speech sound and relatively independent of variations in pitch.
  4. Physics.
    1. the state of a system in which an abnormally large vibration is produced in response to an external stimulus, occurring when the frequency of the stimulus is the same, or nearly the same, as the natural vibration frequency of the system.
    2. the vibration produced in such a state.
    3. a hadron with a very short lifetime, of the order of 10−23 sec.
  5. Electricity. that condition of a circuit with respect to a given frequency or the like in which the net reactance is zero and the current flow a maximum.
  6. Also called mesomerism. Chemistry. the condition exhibited by a molecule when the actual arrangement of its valence electrons is intermediate between two or more arrangements having nearly the same energy, and the positions of the atomic nuclei are identical.
  7. Medicine/Medical. (in percussing for diagnostic purposes) a sound produced when air is present.

Origin of resonance

1485–95; < Middle French < Latin resonantia echo, equivalent to reson(āre) to resound + -antia -ance
Related formshy·per·res·o·nance, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for resonance

fullness, vibration, sonority

Examples from the Web for resonance

Contemporary Examples of resonance

Historical Examples of resonance

British Dictionary definitions for resonance


  1. the condition or quality of being resonant
  2. sound produced by a body vibrating in sympathy with a neighbouring source of sound
  3. the condition of a body or system when it is subjected to a periodic disturbance of the same frequency as the natural frequency of the body or system. At this frequency the system displays an enhanced oscillation or vibration
  4. amplification of speech sounds by sympathetic vibration in the bone structure of the head and chest, resounding in the cavities of the nose, mouth, and pharynx
  5. electronics the condition of an electrical circuit when the frequency is such that the capacitive and inductive reactances are equal in magnitude. In a series circuit there is then maximum alternating current whilst in a parallel circuit there is minimum alternating current
  6. med the sound heard when percussing a hollow bodily structure, esp the chest or abdomen. Change in the quality of the sound often indicates an underlying disease or disorder
  7. chem the phenomenon in which the electronic structure of a molecule can be represented by two or more hypothetical structures involving single, double, and triple chemical bonds. The true structure is considered to be an average of these theoretical structures
  8. physics
    1. the condition of a system in which there is a sharp maximum probability for the absorption of electromagnetic radiation or capture of particles
    2. a type of elementary particle of extremely short lifetime. Resonances are regarded as excited states of more stable particles
    3. a highly transient atomic state formed during a collision process

Word Origin for resonance

C16: from Latin resonāre to resound
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

Word Origin and History for resonance

mid-15c., in acoustics, "prolongation of sound by reverberation;" 1660s, "act of resonating;" from Middle French resonance (15c.), from Latin resonantia "echo," from resonare "to sound again" (see resound). Earlier in same sense was resonation (early 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

resonance in Medicine


  1. The sound produced by diagnostic percussion of the normal chest.
  2. Intensification of vocal tones during articulation, as by the air cavities of the mouth and nasal passages.
  3. Intensification and prolongation of sound produced by sympathetic vibration.
  4. The property of a compound having simultaneously the characteristics of two or more structural forms that differ only in the distribution of electrons.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

resonance in Science


  1. Oscillation induced in a physical system when it is affected by another system that is itself oscillating at the right frequency. For example, a swing will swing to greater heights if each consecutive push on it is timed to be in rhythm with the initial swing. Radios are tuned to pick up one radio frequency rather than another using a resonant circuit that resonates strongly with the incoming signal at only a narrow band of frequencies. The soundboards of musical instruments, contrastingly, are designed to resonate with a large range of frequencies produced by the instrument. See also harmonic motion.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.