- a method for detecting and locating objects submerged in water by echolocation.
- the apparatus used in sonar.
Origin of sonar
1940–45; so(und) na(vigation) r(anging)
Also called, British, asdic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for sonar
Before that, in December 2011, it won a $691 million U.S. Navy subcontract for “combat and sonar systems” for submarines.Assad Supplier Finmeccanica Did Business With the Pentagon
July 9, 2012
He was talking about the sonar beacon linked to the black box of Air France Flight 447.The Myth of the Black Box
June 7, 2009
The sonar equipment showed what kind of rock it was—iron and basalt.The Minus Woman
Russell Robert Winterbotham
But what good would it do anyone to stick a sonar device on an island like this?
For instance, there must have been a sonar unit near where we swam at St. Thomas.
The boys were familiar with sonar because of the Spindrift work on the Submobile.
He adjusted the sonar pickups, turned the amplifier to maximum, and listened intently.Way of a Rebel
Walter M. Miller
- a communication and position-finding device used in underwater navigation and target detection using echolocation
C20: from so (und) na (vigation and) r (anging)
Word Origin and History for sonar
apparatus for detection underwater, 1946, from first letters of "sound navigation ranging," on pattern of radar.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- Short for sound navigation and ranging. A method of detecting, locating, and determining the speed of objects through the use of reflected sound waves. A sound signal is produced, and the time it takes for the signal to reach an object and for its echo to return is used to calculate the object's distance. The Doppler effect can also be used to determine the object's relative velocity. Electronic sonar systems are used for submarine navigation and for detecting schools of fish. Some mammals, especially bats, use biological sonar to navigate and detect prey in dark conditions, commonly called echolocation.
- The equipment or physiology used in doing this. See also Doppler effect lidar radar.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.