• Pertaining to the detection, production, transmission, reception, control, processing, and study of sound, in addition to all phenomena arising from the effects of sound. This contrasts with acoustical, which is all that is related to sound, but not having its physical properties or characteristics. Thus, terms with acoustical should pertain to units, measurement, materials, and devices. Nonetheless, even in technical usage acoustic and acoustical are mostly used synonymously.

Media Studies

  • adjective referring to a musical instrument or musical performance which is not amplified


  • adjective relating to sound or hearing

Origin & History of “acoustic”

Appropriately enough, acoustic may be distantly related to hear. It first appeared in English in Francis Bacon’s Advancement of Learning 1605, borrowed from Greek akoustikós. this in turn was derived from the Greek verb for ‘hear’, akoúein, which, it has been speculated, may have some connection with *khauzjan, the original Germanic source of English hear, not to mention German hören and Dutch horen (as well as with Latin cavēre ‘be on one’s guard’, and hence with English caution and caveat).