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sound definition


This page has 32 definitions of sound in English, Italian, and Swedish. Sound is an adjective, an adverb, interjection, noun and verb. Examples of how to use sound in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Sound

English sound definition

Alternative forms

  • soune, sownd, sowne (obsolete)


Etymology 1

From Middle English sound, sund, isund, ȝesund, from Old English sund, ġesund (sound, safe, whole, uninjured, healthy, prosperous), from Proto-West Germanic *sund, from Proto-Germanic *gasundaz, *sundaz (healthy), from Proto-Indo-European *sunt-, *swent- (vigorous, active, healthy).

Cognate with Scots sound, soun (healthy, sound), Saterland Frisian suund, gesuund (healthy), West Frisian sûn (healthy), Dutch gezond (healthy, sound), Low German sund, gesund (healthy), German gesund (healthy, sound), Danish sund (healthy), Swedish sund (sound, healthy). Related also to Dutch gezwind (fast, quick), German geschwind (fast, quick), Old English swīþ (strong, mighty, powerful, active, severe, violent). See swith.


sound (comparative sounder, superlative soundest)

  1. Healthy.
    He was safe and sound.
    In horse management a sound horse is one with no health problems that might affect its suitability for its intended work.
    • 1842 May 30, “Roscorla v. Thomas”, in Montagu[e] Chambers, editor, The Law Journal Reports for the Year 1842, volumes XX (New Series – volume XI, part II), London: E. B. Ince, 5 Quality Court, Chancery Lane, →OCLC, pages 214–215:
      on the 29th of September 1840, in consideration that the plaintiff, at the request of the defendant, had bought of the defendant a certain horse, at a certain price, to wit, 30l., the defendant promised plaintiff that the horse did not exceed five years off, and that it was sound in wind and limb, perfect in vision, and free from vice; []
  2. Complete, solid, or secure.
    Fred assured me the floorboards were sound.
    • 1614–1615, Homer, “(please specify the book number)”, in Geo[rge] Chapman, transl., Homer’s Odysses. [], London: [] Rich[ard] Field [and William Jaggard], for Nathaniell Butter, published 1615, →OCLC; republished in The Odysseys of Homer, [], volumes (please specify the book number), London: John Russell Smith, [], 1857, →OCLC:
      The brasswork here, how rich it is in beams,
      And how, besides, it makes the whole house sound.
    • 2021 November 17, Andrew Mourant, “Okehampton: a new dawn for Dartmoor”, in Rail, number 944, page 43:
      Refurbishing Okehampton station, kept basically sound under ownership by Devon Council, remains a work in progress and scheduled for completion next spring.
  3. (mathematics, logic) Having the property of soundness.
    Hypernym: valid
    • 1992, Rudolf M[athias] Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page vii:
      With fresh material, taxonomic conclusions are leavened by recognition that the material examined reflects the site it occupied; a herbarium packet gives one only a small fraction of the data desirable for sound conclusions. Herbarium material does not, indeed, allow one to extrapolate safely: what you see is what you get []
  4. (Britain, Ireland, slang) Good; acceptable; decent.
    How are you? —I'm sound.
    That's a sound track you're playing.
    See that man over there? He's sound. You should get to know him.
  5. (of sleep) Quiet and deep.
    Sound asleep means sleeping peacefully, and often deeply.
    Her sleep was sound.
  6. Heavy; laid on with force.
    a sound beating
  7. Founded in law; legal; valid; not defective.
    a sound title to land
Derived terms
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.


sound (comparative more sound, superlative most sound)

  1. Soundly.



  1. (Britain, Ireland, slang) Yes; used to show agreement or understanding, generally without much enthusiasm.
    I found my jacket. — Sound.

Etymology 2

Displaced native Middle English swei, from Old English swēġ, from Proto-Germanic *swōgiz.

A drum produces sound via a vibrating membrane.
Sound of a doorbell.


sound (countable and uncountable, plural sounds)

  1. A sensation perceived by the ear caused by the vibration of air or some other medium.
    He turned when he heard the sound of footsteps behind him.  Nobody made a sound.
  2. A vibration capable of causing such sensations.
    • 1820, Encyclopaedia Britannica; Or A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature[1], 6th edition, volume 20, Edinburgh: Archibald Constable and Company, page 501:
      In trumpets for assisting the hearing, all reverbation of the trumpet must be avoided. It must be made thick, of the least elastic materials, and covered with cloth externally. For all reverbation lasts for a short time, and produces new sounds which mix with those which are coming in.
    • 1906, Stanley J[ohn] Weyman, chapter I, in Chippinge Borough, New York, N.Y.: McClure, Phillips & Co., →OCLC, page 01:
      It was April 22, 1831, and a young man was walking down Whitehall in the direction of Parliament Street. []. He halted opposite the Privy Gardens, and, with his face turned skywards, listened until the sound of the Tower guns smote again on the ear and dispelled his doubts.
  3. (music) A distinctive style and sonority of a particular musician, orchestra etc.
    • 1954, Valentine Davies et al., The Glenn Miller Story:
      He looks like he's got it, maybe. Listen to those kids!
      There's no maybe about it. That's it, that's the sound.
  4. Noise without meaning; empty noise.
  5. Earshot, distance within which a certain noise may be heard.
    Stay within the sound of my voice.
  6. (phonetics) A segment as a part of spoken language, the smallest unit of spoken language, a speech sound.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.
See also


sound (third-person singular simple present sounds, present participle sounding, simple past and past participle sounded)

  1. (intransitive) To produce a sound.
    When the horn sounds, take cover.
  2. (copulative) To convey an impression by one's sound.
    He sounded good when we last spoke.
    That story sounds like a pack of lies!
  3. (intransitive) To be conveyed in sound; to be spread or published; to convey intelligence by sound.
    • 1560, [William Whittingham et al., transl.], The Bible and Holy Scriptures Conteyned in the Olde and Newe Testament. [] (the Geneva Bible), Geneva: [] Rouland Hall, →OCLC, I. Thessalonians I:8, folio 95, recto:
      For from you ſounded out the worde of the Lord, not in Macedonia & in Achaia onely: but your faith alſo which is towarde God, ſpred abroade in all quarters, that we nede not to ſpeake any thing.
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) To resound.
  5. (intransitive, law, often with in) To arise or to be recognizable as arising in or from a particular area of law, or as likely to result in a particular kind of legal remedy.
    In my opinion this claim sounds in damages rather than in an injunction.
    • 1999, Supreme Court of the United States, City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Montery, Ltd. et al.[2]:
      [] there can be no doubt that claims brought pursuant to § 1983 sound in tort.
  6. (transitive) To cause to produce a sound.
    Sound the alarm!
    He sounds the instrument.
  7. (transitive, phonetics, of a vowel or consonant) To pronounce.
    The "e" in "house" isn't sounded.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Derived terms

Etymology 3

From Middle English sound, sund, from Old English sund (the power, capacity, or act of swimming; swimming; sea; ocean; water; sound; strait; channel), from Proto-Germanic *sundą (swimming; sound), from Proto-Indo-European *swem- (swimming; sea).

Cognate with Dutch zond (sound; strait), Danish sund (sound; strait; channel), Swedish sund (sound; strait; channel), Icelandic sund (sound; strait; channel). Related to swim.


sound (plural sounds)

  1. (geography) A long narrow inlet, or a strait between the mainland and an island; also, a strait connecting two seas, or connecting a sea or lake with the ocean.
  2. The air bladder of a fish.
    Cod sounds are an esteemed article of food.
    • 1997, Mark Kurlansky, Cod, page 118:
      The head was chopped off, the belly opened, the liver set aside--sometimes along with the roe, sounds, throats, and other items.
Derived terms

Etymology 4

From Middle English sounden, from Old French sonder, from sonde (sounding line) of Germanic origin, compare Old English sundgyrd (a sounding rod), sundline (a sounding line), Old English sund (water, sea). More at Etymology 3 above.


sound (third-person singular simple present sounds, present participle sounding, simple past and past participle sounded)

  1. (intransitive) Of a whale, to dive downwards.
    The whale sounded and eight hundred feet of heavy line streaked out of the line tub before he ended his dive.
  2. To ascertain, or to try to ascertain, the thoughts, motives, and purposes of (a person); to examine; to try; to test; to probe.
    When I sounded him, he appeared to favor the proposed deal.
  3. To fathom or test; to ascertain the depth of water with a sounding line or other device.
    Mariners on sailing ships would sound the depth of the water with a weighted rope.
  4. (medicine) To examine with the instrument called a sound or sonde, or by auscultation or percussion.
    to sound a patient, or the bladder or urethra


sound (plural sounds)

  1. (medicine) A long, thin probe for sounding or dilating body cavities or canals such as the urethra; a sonde.
    • 1951 January, Gordon W. Reynolds, “The Female Urethra and Chronic Urethritis”, in Northwest Medicine, volume 50, number 1, Portland, Ore.: Northwest Medical Publishing Association, page 34:
      Most mild cases respond very nicely to such relatively simple office procedures as dilatations with sounds of increasing calibre, followed by the instillation of an ounce of 5 per cent argyrol in the bladder.



Italian sound definition


Borrowed from English sound.



sound m (invariable)

  1. (music) sound (distinctive style and sonority)


  1. ^ sound in Luciano Canepari, Dizionario di Pronuncia Italiana (DiPI)


Swedish sound definition


Borrowed from English sound. Attested since 1954.


sound n

  1. (music) a sound (distinctive style)
    Gruppen har ett unikt sound
    The band has a unique sound


Declension of sound 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative sound soundet sound sounden
Genitive sounds soundets sounds soundens