• synonyms


verb (used without object)
  1. to give out a sharp, vibrating sound, as the string of a musical instrument when plucked.
  2. to produce such a sound by plucking a stringed musical instrument.
  3. to have or produce a sharp, nasal tone, as the human voice.
Show More
verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to make a sharp, vibrating sound, as a string of a musical instrument.
  2. to produce (music) by plucking the strings of a musical instrument.
  3. to pluck the strings of (a musical instrument): to twang a guitar.
  4. to speak with a sharp, nasal tone.
  5. to pull the string of (an archer's bow).
  6. to let fly (an arrow).
Show More
  1. the sharp, ringing sound produced by plucking or suddenly releasing a tense string.
  2. a sound resembling this.
  3. an act of plucking or picking: He gave his guitar strings a twang.
  4. a sharp, nasal tone, as of the human voice.
Show More

Origin of twang

First recorded in 1535–45; imitative
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for twanging

Historical Examples

  • It was twanging like a harp-string, at the rate of nearly a hundred and fifty a minute.

    A Pair of Blue Eyes

    Thomas Hardy

  • Who had heard the twanging of Karkapaha's bow in the retreats of the bear?

  • He was crowned with a golden wreath, and he was twanging a kind of harp.

  • The Master said, What has the lute of Yu to do, twanging at my door?

  • They strained their ears for some warning sound—or for the twanging of bowstrings.

    Brothers of Peril

    Theodore Goodridge Roberts

British Dictionary definitions for twanging


  1. a sharp ringing sound produced by or as if by the plucking of a taut stringthe twang of a guitar
  2. the act of plucking a string to produce such a sound
  3. a strongly nasal quality in a person's speech, esp in certain dialects
Show More
  1. to make or cause to make a twangto twang a guitar
  2. to strum (music, a tune, etc)to twang on a guitar
  3. to speak or utter with a sharp nasal voice
  4. (intr) to be released or move with a twangthe arrow twanged away
Show More
Derived Formstwangy, adjective

Word Origin

C16: of imitative origin
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 twanging



1550s, of imitative origin. Originally of bows and strings; extension to "a nasal vocal sound" is first recorded 1660s. The verb is first attested 1540s. Related: Twanged; twanging.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper