sound barrier


noun

Also called sonic barrier, transonic barrier. (not in technical use) a hypothetical barrier to flight beyond the speed of sound, so postulated because aircraft undergo an abruptly increasing drag force induced by compression of the surrounding air when traveling near the speed of sound.

Idioms

    break the sound barrier, to travel faster than the speed of sound.

Origin of sound barrier

First recorded in 1950–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for sound barrier

sound barrier

noun

(not in technical usage) a hypothetical barrier to flight at or above the speed of sound, when a sudden large increase in drag occursAlso called: sonic barrier, transonic barrier

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

Science definitions for sound barrier

sound barrier

The sharp increase in drag experienced by aircraft approaching the speed of sound. Also called sonic barrier

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

Culture definitions for sound barrier

sound barrier

The sudden increase in air resistance that occurs when an aircraft approaches the speed of sound. This is also called the sonic barrier.


The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.