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Etymology 1

sound ("produce a sound") +‎ -ing.


sounding (plural soundings)

  1. The action of the verb to sound.
    • (Can we date this quote by John Lightfoot and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      And thus did the trumpets sound one-and-twenty blasts every day; [...] three soundings at the three pausings of the music, [...]


sounding (not comparable)

  1. Emitting a sound.
    The sounding bell woke me up.
  2. Sonorous.
    • (Can we date this quote by Dryden and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      sounding words
    • (Can we date this quote by Edgar Allan Poe and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      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

From sound ("examine with the instrument called a sound, or by auscultation or percussion") +‎ -ing.


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.

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 The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for sounding in
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


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