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white noise

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noun
  1. Also called white sound. a steady, unvarying, unobtrusive sound, as an electronically produced drone or the sound of rain, used to mask or obliterate unwanted sounds.
  2. Physics. random noise with a uniform frequency spectrum over a wide range of frequencies.
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Origin of white noise

First recorded in 1965–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for white noise

Historical Examples

  • The voice emerged from that white-noise roar of water humming and sloshing back and forth in her basket.

    Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town

    Cory Doctorow

  • The rush of water echoed off the cave walls, a white-noise shushing that sounded like skis cutting through powder.


British Dictionary definitions for white noise

white noise

noun
    1. sound or electrical noise that has a relatively wide continuous range of frequencies of uniform intensity
    2. noise containing all frequencies rising in level by six decibels every octave
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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

Word Origin and History for white noise

n.

"sound made up of a random mixture of frequencies and intensities," attested by 1970.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper