Meaning of SOUND in English


I. ˈsau̇nd adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English sound, sund, from Old English ge sund; akin to Old Saxon gi sund sound, Old Frisian sund fresh, unharmed, healthy, Old High German gi sunt healthy, Gothic swinths strong, healthy and probably to Lithuanian sumdyti, siumdyti to rouse, incite


a. : free from injury or disease : robust , wholesome

a young man … of good parentage, sound in wind and limb — Henry Miller

every tooth in her head was sound — W.M.Thackeray

a sound mind in a sound body

b. : free from disease, abnormality, or defect impairing or likely to impair usefulness — used of a domestic animal and especially of a horse; compare unsound

c. : free from flaw, defect, or decay : unimpaired , unblemished

sound timber

a sound wine

a sound wall

sound fruit

the masonry … is still sound — American Guide Series: North Carolina


a. : marked by solidity, firmness, or stability

a building of sound construction

established a sound foundation for future progress

b. : stable and resistant to volume change when used in construction work — used of hydraulic cements including portland, hydrated lime, quicklime, and aggregates for concrete

c. : solidly or securely based : reliable

a sound economy

a sound society

sound relationships

d. : financially secure : safe

a sound investment


a. : based on truth or right : free from error or fallacy

sound advice

a sound argument

sound reasoning

sound criticism

b. : based on adequate knowledge or experience : correct

sound estimate of the military situation — Carl Bridenbaugh

c. : showing a high level of accuracy or polish : precise

sound scholarship

paved the way for … sound and fruitful knowledge of antiquity — G.C.Sellery

a sound paragraph — L.B.Nicolson

d. chess : admitting of no variation advantageous to the opponent — used of a problem or combination

e. : founded in law : not defective : legal , valid

a sound title to land

f. : agreeing with accepted views : orthodox

sound in the faith

preached sound doctrine


a. : complete , thorough

a sound revenge

a sound recovery

b. : deep and undisturbed — used of sleep

a sound sleep

c. : hard , severe

a sound whipping


a. : marked by loyalty and dependability : trustworthy

a sound friend

his shipmates pronounced him sound to the kelson — Herman Melville

b. : showing high morale : not disaffected

a robust and sound people — Matthew Arnold

c. : showing good judgment : level-headed

a sound man to have on a governing board

Synonyms: see healthy , valid

II. adverb

Etymology: Middle English, from sound (I)

: soundly — used with asleep and sleep and in combination

sound asleep

slept sound

sound -thinking citizens

III. noun

( -s )

Usage: often attributive

Etymology: Middle English soun, from Old French son, from Latin sonus; akin to Old English swinn melody, Old Irish senim sounds, playing, Old Latin sonere to sound, Sanskrit svanati it sounds, resounds


a. : the sensation perceived by the sense of hearing

the pattern of nerve impulses arriving in the brain is associated with and subjectively experienced as sound — Otto Stuhlman

b. : an auditory impression : noise , tone

the sound of thunder

sounds of laughter

the sound of girls' voices — Pearl Buck

from the passageway … the sound of footsteps — Kenneth Roberts

c. : mechanical radiant energy that is transmitted by longitudinal pressure waves in air or other material medium and is the objective cause of the sensation of hearing

the velocity of sound in air at 32° F is about 1087 feet per second


a. : a speech sound

a peculiar r-sound

an ȯ- sound

b. : value in terms of a single speech sound or a succession of speech sounds

Polish prz has pretty much the sound of bsch in German hübsch — psh

3. archaic : rumor , tidings

the preachers … spread the glorious sound — William Cowper


a. : noise without meaning : mere noise

full of sound and fury, signifying nothing — Shakespeare

systems which … deal in sounds instead of sense — Jeremy Bentham

b. obsolete : underlying meaning : significance

the word has no sound , as I may say, to me — Daniel Defoe

c. : the mental impression conveyed by a particular sound or expression : an accompanying implication : import , portent

that confession has a suspicious sound to me

5. : distance within which a particular noise may be heard : earshot , hearing

within sound of his voice

the lad was out of sight and out of sound — S.H.Holbrook

6. : recorded auditory material (as on phonograph discs or motion-picture film)

stereophonic sound

with sound there came … the need of good writing — Irving Pichel

7. : a particular musical style characteristic of an individual, a group, or an area

the Nashville sound

IV. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English sounen, from Middle French soner, suner, from Latin sonare; akin to Latin sonus sound

intransitive verb


a. : to make a noise or sound (as with the voice or with an instrument) : produce an audible effect

first taught speaking trumpets how to sound — John Dryden

a buzzing noise kept sounding in his ears

b. : resound

sounding to strains of soft music

the echoes of his clever talk were still sounding — V.L.Parrington

c. : to give a signal by sound : summon — used with to

the bugle sounds to battle

d. archaic : to become known by word of mouth

from you sounded out the word of the Lord — 1 Thess 1:8 (Authorized Version)


a. : to make or convey a certain impression : have a certain import when heard : seem , appear

sounds good to me

the whole thing sounded incredible — Burtt Evans

b. obsolete : tend , lean , incline

sound neither to matters of state nor of war — George Puttenham

c. : to become based or founded — used with in

those remedies for rent which sounded in contract — O.W.Holmes †1935

sound in tort

sound in damages

motives sounding in the need of divine salvation — H.O.Taylor

d. : to have or tend to have the character of a specified thing — usually used with in

sound in folly

transitive verb


a. : to cause to sound (as a musical instrument) : play , strike

sounding the gong for breakfast

hear each instrumentalist sound his A — Warwick Braithwaite

b. : to produce the sound of : pronounce

sound each syllable carefully

sound the keynote

2. : to put into words : voice

how dares thy … tongue sound this unpleasing news — Shakespeare

encomiums are being sounded — A.H.MacCormick


a. : to make known : proclaim

sound his praises far and wide

sounded its purpose of enforcing its new regulations — Fred Russell

b. : to order, signal, or indicate by a sound

sound retreat

sound a parley

the clock sounds noon

4. : to examine the condition of (something) by causing it to emit sounds and noting their character

sound a piece of timber

sound the lungs

V. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English sund swimming, capacity for swimming, strait, sea & Old Norse sund swimming, strait, sound; akin to Middle Low German sunt narrow sea, strait, Old High German swimman to swim — more at swim


a. : a long and rather broad inlet of the ocean generally with its larger part extending roughly parallel to the coast

b. : a long passage of water connecting two larger bodies but too wide and extensive to be termed a strait (as a passage connecting a sea or lake with the ocean or with another sea or a channel passing between a mainland and an island)

2. : the air bladder of a fish

VI. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English sounden, from Middle French sonder, from sonde sounding line, act of sounding, probably of Germanic origin; akin to Old English sund gyrd sounding rod, sund līne sounding line, sund rāp sounding lead, Old Norse sund strait, sound

transitive verb

1. : to measure the depth of (as by a line and plummet) : fathom

the crew must often sound the bottom to be sure of enough water — Lyn Harrington

sounding the distance to the bottom and to the ice overhead — W.R.Anderson & Clay Blair

— see echo sounding

2. : to try to find out (as by discreet questioning) the views or intentions of : feel out : probe

sounding various senators as to their willingness to support him — Robert Graves

— often used with out

sound him out on the idea

sounded out the old folks about marrying her — Seumas O'Kelly

3. : to explore or examine (a body cavity, as the bladder or urethra) with a sound

4. : to remove the sound and other organs from (fish)

5. : to carry down (the towline of a boat) when sounding — used of a whale

intransitive verb


a. : to ascertain the depth of water especially with a sounding line

there was fog … they crept in, sounding — Christian Science Monitor

b. : to look into or investigate the possibility : put out feelers

sent commissioners … to sound for peace — Thomas Jefferson

c. of a lead : to go down

deeper than did ever plummet sound I'll drown my book — Shakespeare

2. : to dive suddenly straight toward the bottom — used of a fish and of a whale, especially when hooked or harpooned

get to the spot before the whale gathered its wits sufficiently to sound — R.B.Robertson

- sound the well

VII. noun

( -s )

Etymology: obsolete sound sounding line, act of sounding, from Middle French sonde

: an elongated instrument or probe by which cavities of the body are sounded or explored for foreign bodies, constriction, or other abnormal conditions (as in the esophagus, urethra, uterus)

VIII. ˈsün(d)

dialect Britain

variant of swoon

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.