General English


  • noun something that can be heard and is caused by vibration of the surrounding air


  • noun in a PC, a filename extension used to indicate a file that contains digitised sound data
  • noun in a Macintosh, the resource that contains sound information


  • A vibratory disturbance, with the frequency in the approximate range between 20 to 20,000 cycles per second, capable of being detected by a human ear.


  • A vibration or other disturbance which travels through an elastic medium, such as air, water, or metal, in the form of longitudinal waves. In dry air, for example, at 0 °C, and at one atmosphere pressure, sound travels at approximately 331.6 meters per second, while in copper sound travels at approximately 3,360 meters per second. Sound waves may be reflected, refracted, scattered, or absorbed, and are also subject to constructive and destructive interference. Characteristics which help distinguish between sounds include frequency, amplitude, and timbre. 2. Sound (1) whose frequency is within the audible spectrum. Sound is usually heard, but if the frequency is sufficiently low, it may be felt. Sound below 20 Hz is called infrasound, while ultrasound is above 20,000 Hz. Also, the auditory sensation that such sound produces.

Information & Library Science

  • adjective strong, reliable or in good condition

Media Studies

  • noun the music, speech or other sounds heard through an electronic device such as a television, radio or loudspeaker, especially with regard to volume or quality
  • noun the recording, editing and replaying of music, speech or sound effects in the broadcast or entertainment industry


  • noun a long rod, used to examine or to dilate the inside of a cavity in the body
  • verb to make a particular noise
  • verb to examine the inside of a cavity using a rod


  • adjective excellent. A vogue term of approbation, generalised from the standard sense of ‘reliable’ for use among adolescents from the early 1990s. The word was particularly popular in the speech of the Merseyside area and often used as an exclamation.


  • used to describe a wine that has no obvious faults

Origin & History of “sound”

English has no fewer than four distinct words sound. The oldest, ‘channel, strait’ (OE), originally meant ‘swimming’. It came from a prehistoric Germanic *sundam, a derivative of the base *sum-, *swem- ‘swim’ (source of English swim). The sense ‘channel’ was adopted from a related Scandinavian word (such as Danish sund) in the 15th century. Sound ‘undamaged’ (12th c.) is a shortened version of Old English gesund, which went back to prehistoric west Germanic *gasundaz, a word of uncertain origin. Its modern relatives, German gesund and Dutch gezond ‘well, healthy’, retain the ancestral prefix. Sound ‘noise’ (13th c.) comes via Anglo-Norman soun from Latin sonus ‘sound’, a relative of Sanskrit svan- ‘make a noise’. Amongst the Latin word’s many other contributions to English are consonant, dissonant (15th c.), resonant (16th c.), sonata (17th c.) (via Italian), sonorous (17th c.), and sonnet. Sound ‘plumb the depths’ (14th c.) (as in sounding line) comes via Old French sonder from vulgar Latin *subundāre, a compound verb formed from Latin sub- ‘under’ and unda ‘wave’ (source of English undulate).