[ sound ]
See synonyms for sound on
  1. the sensation produced by stimulation of the organs of hearing by vibrations transmitted through the air or other medium.

  2. mechanical vibrations transmitted through an elastic medium, traveling in air at a speed of approximately 1,087 feet (331 meters) per second at sea level.

  1. the particular auditory effect produced by a given cause: the sound of music.

  2. any auditory effect; any audible vibrational disturbance: all kinds of sounds.

  3. a noise, vocal utterance, musical tone, or the like: the sounds from the next room.

  4. a distinctive, characteristic, or recognizable musical style, as from a particular performer, orchestra, or type of arrangement: the big-band sound.

  5. Phonetics.

    • the audible result of an utterance or portion of an utterance: the s-sound in “slight”;the sound of m in “mere.”

  6. the auditory effect of sound waves as transmitted or recorded by a particular system of sound reproduction: the sound of a stereophonic recording.

  7. the quality of an event, letter, etc., as it affects a person: This report has a bad sound.

  8. the distance within which the noise of something may be heard.

  9. mere noise, without meaning: all sound and fury.

  10. Archaic. a report or rumor; news; tidings.

verb (used without object)
  1. to make or emit a sound.

  2. to give forth a sound as a call or summons: The bugle sounded as the troops advanced.

  1. to be heard, as a sound.

  2. to convey a certain impression when heard or read: to sound strange.

  3. to give a specific sound: to sound loud.

  4. to give the appearance of being; seem: The report sounds true.

  5. Law. to have as its basis or foundation (usually followed by in): His action sounds in contract.

verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to make or emit a sound: to sound a bell.

  2. to give forth (a sound): The oboe sounded an A.

  1. to announce, order, or direct by or as by a sound: The bugle sounded retreat.His speech sounded a warning to aggressor nations.

  2. to utter audibly, pronounce, or express: to sound each letter.

  3. to examine by percussion or auscultation: to sound a patient's chest.

Verb Phrases
  1. sound off, Informal.

    • to call out one's name, as at military roll call.

    • to speak freely or frankly, especially to complain in such a manner.

    • to exaggerate; boast: Has he been sounding off about his golf game again?

Idioms about sound

  1. (that) sounds good (to me), (used when accepting a suggestion) I agree; yes; OK: “Shall we meet at my place at 3 tomorrow, and talk about it in more detail then?” “Sounds good.”

Origin of sound

First recorded in 1250–1300; (noun) Middle English soun, from Anglo-French (Old French son ), from Latin sonus; (verb) Middle English sounen, from Old French suner, from Latin sonāre, derivative of sonus

synonym study For sound

1. Sound, noise, tone refer to something heard. Sound and noise are often used interchangeably for anything perceived by means of hearing. Sound, however, is more general in application, being used for anything within earshot: the sound of running water. Noise, caused by irregular vibrations, is more properly applied to a loud, discordant, or unpleasant sound: the noise of shouting. Tone is applied to a musical sound having a certain quality, resonance, and pitch.

Other words from sound

  • sound·a·ble, adjective
  • un·sound·a·ble, adjective

Words Nearby sound

Other definitions for sound (2 of 5)

[ sound ]

adjective,sound·er, sound·est.
  1. free from injury, damage, defect, disease, etc.; in good condition; healthy; robust: a sound heart;a sound mind.

  2. financially strong, secure, or reliable: a sound business;sound investments.

  1. competent, sensible, or valid: sound judgment.

  2. having no defect as to truth, justice, wisdom, or reason: sound advice.

  3. following in a systematic pattern without any apparent defect in logic: sound reasoning.

  4. of substantial or enduring character: sound moral values.

  5. uninterrupted and untroubled; deep; sound sleep.

  6. vigorous, thorough, or severe: a sound thrashing.

  7. free from moral defect or weakness; upright, honest, or good; honorable; loyal.

  8. having no legal defect: a sound title to property.

  9. theologically correct or orthodox, as doctrines or a theologian.

  1. deeply; thoroughly; sound asleep.

Origin of sound

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English sund, Old English gesund (see y-); cognate with Dutch gezond, German gesund

Other words for sound

Other words from sound

  • sound·ly, adverb
  • sound·ness, noun

Other definitions for sound (3 of 5)

[ sound ]

verb (used with object)
  1. to measure or try the depth of (water, a deep hole, etc.) by letting down a lead or plummet at the end of a line, or by some equivalent means.

  2. to measure (depth) in such a manner, as at sea.

  1. to examine or test (the bottom, as of the sea or a deep hole) with a lead that brings up adhering bits of matter.

  2. to examine or investigate; seek to fathom or ascertain: to sound a person's views.

  3. to seek to elicit the views or sentiments of (a person) by indirect inquiries, suggestive allusions, etc. (often followed by out): Why not sound him out about working for us?

  4. Surgery. to examine, as the urinary bladder, with a sound.

verb (used without object)
  1. to use the lead and line or some other device for measuring depth, as at sea.

  2. to go down or touch bottom, as a lead.

  1. to plunge downward or dive, as a whale.

  2. to make investigation; seek information, especially by indirect inquiries.

  1. Surgery. a long, slender instrument for sounding or exploring body cavities or canals.

Origin of sound

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English sounden, from Old French sonder “to plumb,” derivative of sonde “sounding line,” of uncertain origin; perhaps either from Vulgar Latin subundāre (unrecorded) “to dive, plunge” (see sonder ) or from Old English sund “act of swimming, sea” (see sound4 )

Other words from sound

  • sound·a·ble, adjective

Other definitions for sound (4 of 5)

[ sound ]

  1. a relatively narrow passage of water between larger bodies of water or between the mainland and an island: Long Island Sound.

  2. an inlet, arm, or recessed portion of the sea: Puget Sound.

  1. the air bladder of a fish.

Origin of sound

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English sund “act of swimming, sea”; akin to swim

Other definitions for Sound (5 of 5)

[ sound ]

  1. The Sound, a strait between southwestern Sweden and Zealand, connecting the Kattegat and the Baltic. 87 miles (140 km) long; 3–30 miles (5–48 km) wide.

  • Danish Ø·re·sund [Danish œ-ruh-soon] /Danish ˈœ rəˌsʊn/ .
  • Swedish Ö·re·sund [Swedish œ-ruh-soond] /Swedish ˈœ rəˌsʊnd/ . Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sound in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sound (1 of 5)


/ (saʊnd) /

    • a periodic disturbance in the pressure or density of a fluid or in the elastic strain of a solid, produced by a vibrating object. It has a velocity in air at sea level at 0°C of 331 metres per second (741 miles per hour) and travels as longitudinal waves

    • (as modifier): a sound wave

  1. (modifier) of or relating to radio as distinguished from television: sound broadcasting; sound radio

  1. the sensation produced by such a periodic disturbance in the organs of hearing

  2. anything that can be heard

  3. a particular instance, quality, or type of sound: the sound of running water

  4. volume or quality of sound: a radio with poor sound

  5. the area or distance over which something can be heard: to be born within the sound of Big Ben

  6. the impression or implication of something: I don't like the sound of that

  7. phonetics the auditory effect produced by a specific articulation or set of related articulations

  8. (often plural) slang music, esp rock, jazz, or pop

  1. to cause (something, such as an instrument) to make a sound or (of an instrument, etc) to emit a sound

  2. to announce or be announced by a sound: to sound the alarm

  1. (intr) (of a sound) to be heard

  2. (intr) to resonate with a certain quality or intensity: to sound loud

  3. (copula) to give the impression of being as specified when read, heard, etc: to sound reasonable

  4. (tr) to pronounce distinctly or audibly: to sound one's consonants

  5. (intr usually foll by in) law to have the essential quality or nature (of): an action sounding in damages

Origin of sound

C13: from Old French soner to make a sound, from Latin sonāre, from sonus a sound

Derived forms of sound

  • soundable, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for sound (2 of 5)


/ (saʊnd) /

  1. free from damage, injury, decay, etc

  2. firm; solid; substantial: a sound basis

  1. financially safe or stable: a sound investment

  2. showing good judgment or reasoning; sensible; wise: sound advice

  3. valid, logical, or justifiable: a sound argument

  4. holding approved beliefs; ethically correct; upright; honest

  5. (of sleep) deep; peaceful; unbroken

  6. thorough; complete: a sound examination

  7. British informal excellent

  8. law (of a title, etc) free from defect; legally valid

  9. constituting a valid and justifiable application of correct principles; orthodox: sound theology

  10. logic

    • (of a deductive argument) valid

    • (of an inductive argument) according with whatever principles ensure the high probability of the truth of the conclusion given the truth of the premises

    • another word for consistent (def. 5b)

  1. soundly; deeply: now archaic except when applied to sleep

Origin of sound

Old English sund; related to Old Saxon gisund, Old High German gisunt

Derived forms of sound

  • soundly, adverb
  • soundness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for sound (3 of 5)


/ (saʊnd) /

  1. to measure the depth of (a well, the sea, etc) by lowering a plumb line, by sonar, etc

  2. to seek to discover (someone's views, etc), as by questioning

  1. (intr) (of a whale, etc) to dive downwards swiftly and deeply

  2. med

    • to probe or explore (a bodily cavity or passage) by means of a sound

    • to examine (a patient) by means of percussion and auscultation

  1. med an instrument for insertion into a bodily cavity or passage to dilate strictures, dislodge foreign material, etc

Origin of sound

C14: from Old French sonder, from sonde sounding line, probably of Germanic origin; related to Old English sundgyrd sounding pole, Old Norse sund strait, sound 4; see swim

British Dictionary definitions for sound (4 of 5)


/ (saʊnd) /

  1. a relatively narrow channel between two larger areas of sea or between an island and the mainland

  2. an inlet or deep bay of the sea

  1. the air bladder of a fish

Origin of sound

Old English sund swimming, narrow sea; related to Middle Low German sunt strait; see sound ³

British Dictionary definitions for Sound (5 of 5)


/ (saʊnd) /

  1. the Sound a strait between SW Sweden and Zealand (Denmark), linking the Kattegat with the Baltic: busy shipping lane; spanned by a bridge in 2000. Length of the strait: 113 km (70 miles). Narrowest point: 5 km (3 miles): Danish name: Øresund Swedish name: Öresund

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

Scientific definitions for sound (1 of 2)


[ sound ]

  1. A type of longitudinal wave that originates as the vibration of a medium (such as a person's vocal cords or a guitar string) and travels through gases, liquids, and elastic solids as variations of pressure and density. The loudness of a sound perceived by the ear depends on the amplitude of the sound wave and is measured in decibels, while its pitch depends on its frequency, measured in hertz.

  2. The sensation produced in the organs of hearing by waves of this type. See Note at ultrasound.

Scientific definitions for sound (2 of 2)


[ sound ]

  1. A long, wide inlet of the ocean, often parallel to the coast. Long Island Sound, between Long Island and the coast of New England, is an example.

  2. A long body of water, wider than a strait, that connects larger bodies of water.

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with sound


In addition to the idioms beginning with sound

  • sound as a bell
  • sound bite
  • sound off
  • sound out

also see:

  • safe and sound

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.