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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English sownden, sounen, from Anglo-Norman suner, Old French soner (modern sonner), from Latin sonare


sounding ‎(plural soundings)

  1. The action of the verb to sound.
    The sounding of the bells woke me from sleep.
    • John Lightfoot
      And thus did the trumpets sound one-and-twenty blasts every day; [] three soundings at the three pausings of the music, []

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.


sounding ‎(not comparable)

  1. Emitting a sound.
    The sounding bell woke me up.
  2. sonorous
    • Dryden
      sounding words
    • Edgar Allan Poe
      In her tomb by the sounding sea.



  1. present participle of sound
    Little Mary was sounding very sleepy, so I tucked her in bed.

Etymology 2[edit]

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). Compare Latin sub ‎(under) + undāre ‎(wave).


sounding ‎(plural soundings)

  1. Test made with a probe or sonde.
    • 2011, John P. Rafferty, Oceans and Oceanography (page 189)
      Soundings showed wide variations in depths of water, and from the dredgings of the bottom came new types of sediment []
  2. A measured depth of water.
    The sailor took a sounding every five minutes
  3. The act of inserting of a thin metal rod into the urethra of the penis for medical or sexual purposes
  4. (chiefly in the plural) Any place or part of the ocean, or other water, where a sounding line will reach the bottom.
  5. The sand, shells, etc. brought up by the sounding lead when it has touched bottom.