General English

General Science

  • noun unwanted sound, especially an sound that is unpleasant or too loud


  • noun a random signal present in addition to any wanted signal, caused by static, temperature, power supply, magnetic, or electric fields and also from stars and the Sun


  • In closed-circuit television, interference detected on a cable circuit that reduces or destroys the clarity of the signal. Sometimes called snow.


  • A usually unwanted electrical disturbance, often random and/or persistent in nature, which affects the quality or usefulness of a signal, or which adversely affects the operation of a device. Such noise may occur naturally, or be artificially created. There are many examples, including AC noise, background noise, amplification noise, atmospheric noise, cosmic noise, and thermal noise. Noise which occurs over a wide range of frequencies, regardless of its origin, is called broadband noise.
  • Unwanted sound that occurs within the range of frequencies that humans can hear, and which can result in an unpleasant, uneven, distracting, or otherwise undesired listening experience. Examples include hum and hiss. Such noise may also harm equipment. Also called audio noise, audio frequency noise, or acoustic noise (2).
  • In communications, noise (1) which results in transmitted data which is meaningless, superfluous, or whose information content is otherwise impaired.


  • A phenomenon observed on price charts especially for the shorter time frames in which the market seems to fluctuate randomly up and down. Forex market noise tends to become less noticeable when using charts with a longer periodicity.

Information & Library Science

  • noun electronic interference in an online search resulting in responses that are not useful
  • noun an electronic signal present in addition to the wanted signal, resulting in noisy interference

Media Studies

  • noun interference either visually or on the soundtrack when using magnetic tape
  • noun any sort of interference affecting a channel of communication
  • noun unwanted or meaningless data intermixed with the relevant information in the output from a computer

Origin & History of “noise”

Unlikely as it may seem, the ancestor of English noise meant ‘sickness’. It comes from Latin nausea, source also, of course, of English nausea. This was used colloquially for the sort of ‘hubbub’ or ‘confusion’ which is often coincident with someone being sick (and particularly seasick, which was what nausea originally implied), and Old French took it over, as noise, with roughly these senses. they later developed to ‘noisy dispute’, and modern French noise has retained the ‘dispute’ element of this, while English noise has gone for the ‘intrusive sound’.