• synonyms

shock wave

See more synonyms for shock wave on Thesaurus.com
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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Origin of shock wave

First recorded in 1945–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shock wave

Historical Examples of shock wave

  • The sound and the shock-wave never reached them; the Goblin outran them.

    The Cosmic Computer

    Henry Beam Piper

  • Then the sound and the shock-wave of the first blast reached them.

    Day of the Moron

    Henry Beam Piper

  • The shock-wave caused by the impact tapped on the yacht's side-planking a few seconds later.

    Creatures of the Abyss

    Murray Leinster

  • Then, after the Sunday midday meal, Tom returned to his laboratory to work on ideas for a shock-wave deflector.

  • The young inventor sketched out the sort of shock-wave deflector which he had in mind.

British Dictionary definitions for shock wave

shock wave

  1. 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 detonationOften shortened to: shock See also sonic boom, shock tube
  2. a feeling of shock, horror, surprise, etc that affects many people as it spreads through a community
  3. 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
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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

shock wave in Science

shock wave

  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.