sounding


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

sound the alarm

1. Literally, to activate an alarm. I think I see smoke coming from the warehouse. Someone run upstairs and sound the alarm!
2. To alert other people about something dangerous, risky, or troublesome. A number of top economic advisors tried to sound the alarm before the economic crash, but no policy makers seemed to heed their warnings.
See also: alarm, sound

sounding board

A person or group with whom one discusses an idea, plan, or suggestion in order to evaluate its strengths, acceptability, feasibility, practicality, etc. My friend John and I really know each other's skills and interests, so whenever one of us has an idea for a new project, we use the other as a sounding board.
See also: board, sounding

take soundings

To ask questions in order to learn people's opinions about a certain topic. I'm taking soundings to find out what people want to read about in the student newspaper.
See also: sounding, take

sound off (about something)

1. To express an opinion, especially a complaint, loudly and intensely. Please don't bring up politics—I don't want my brother sounding off again. She never wastes an opportunity to sound off about the city's sub-par public transportation.
2. To interrupt or speak at an inappropriate time. We can't get through a single meeting without Janet sounding off about whatever we're talking about. If you sound off like that again, I'll have to ask you to leave the class.
See also: off, sound

sound out

1. To slowly and carefully pronounce something, such as a letter, syllable, or word, typically as a means of learning how to say it or spell it. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "sound" and "out." She helped her daughter sound out the words in the book. It can be a tricky one to spell because we tend to gloss over the consonants in the middle. Just try sounding it out.
2. To try to ascertain or gauge someone's knowledge or opinion about something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "sound" and "out." We'd better sound out the employees before we implement the new policy. Try to sound Janet out about what we should do in Paris.
3. To produce a noise, typically a loud one, such as an alarm. The siren sounded out, signalling an air raid.
See also: out, sound

sound a false note

To indicate or give the impression that something is wrong, disingenuous, or deceitful. I know she apologized, but it sounded a false note with me—I don't believe she meant what she said.
See also: false, note, sound

sound a (kind of) note

Of speech, to have or communicate a certain kind of tone or attitude. The president sounded an beleaguered note in his address to congress, as he tried to convince them to vote for the healthcare bill he is backing. The manager sounded a rather insincere note as he expressed his sorrow at the round of layoffs.
See also: note, sound

sound like (something)

1. To give the impression of something being the case based on what one hears or is told. It sounds like you're really unhappy in your job, at least from everything you've told me so far. The team gave me an update on their progress, and it sounded like everything was going smoothly.
2. To give the impression of being a certain way based on what one hears or is told. Wow, that sounds like a fabulous vacation! It certainly sounded like a difficult situation that they had found themselves in.
See also: like, sound

sound as if (something)

To give the impression of something being the case based on what one hears or is told. It sounds as if you're really unhappy in your job, at least from everything you've told me so far. The team gave me an update on their progress, and it sounded as if everything was going smoothly.
See also: if, sound

sound like a broken record

To be very tiresome or irritating in the way one continues to say or reiterate the same thing over and over again. Likened to vinyl records that, when severely scratched (i.e., "broken"), can loop endlessly over the same recorded segment. Would you stop telling me to clean my room already? Sheesh, you sound like a broken record! I know I must be sounding like a broken record at this point, but it is crucial that you follow the steps exactly as I've planned them.
See also: broken, like, record, sound

sound like a (real) winner

1. Of a plan or idea, to seem acceptable or ideal. Sometimes used sarcastically to imply the opposite. The board of directors agrees with me that your proposal sounds like a real winner, so we are prepared to move forward with it right away. A: "Did you hear about Sarah's boneheaded plan?" B: "Yeah, it sounds like a real winner, huh? What on earth is she thinking?"
2. Of a person, to seem very well suited (to someone) in a romantic capacity. Sometimes used sarcastically to imply the opposite. A: "She just got a job with a big financial firm, she writes poetry in her spare time, and she loves anime." B: "Wow, dude, she sounds like a winner! You must be elated!" A: "Jenny's new boyfriend is an ex-con and apparently has a pretty bad drinking problem." B: "Huh. Sounds like a real winner, then."
See also: like, sound, winner

sound like a broken record

to say the same thing over and over again. (Fig. on a scratch in a phonograph record causing the needle [or stylus] to stay in the same groove and play it over and over.) He's always complaining about the way she treats him. He sounds like a broken record! I hate to sound like a broken record, but we just don't have enough people on the payroll to work effciently.
See also: broken, like, record, sound

sound someone out

to try to find out what someone thinks (about something). I don't know what Jane thinks about your suggestion, but I'll sound her out. please sound out everyone in your department.
See also: out, sound

sound something out

to pronounce the letters or syllables of a word as a means of figuring out what the word is. (Usually said to a child.) This word is easy, Bobby. Try to sound it out.
See also: out, sound

sound out

Seek the views or intentions of, as in We'd better sound out Mom about who's using the station wagon, or Let's sound out the staff before we decide which week we should close for vacation. This expression derives from sound meaning "to measure the depth of water by lowering a line or lead." It was transferred to other kinds of inquiry in the late 1500s, but out was not added for several centuries.
See also: out, sound

sound out

v.
1. To pronounce something slowly and carefully: The student practiced sounding out the English vowels. I sounded the phrase out until I could say it correctly.
2. To pronounce the letters of some word slowly and in sequence in order to arrive at the pronunciation or meaning of the whole: If you don't know the word, try to sound it out. I tried to sound out the word, but its spelling didn't match its pronunciation.
3. To examine or investigate the opinion or nature of someone or something: The company conducted a survey to sound out public opinion. I tried to sound them out before asking for the favor so that I wouldn't put them in an awkward position.
4. To project a sound: The bell sounded out at midnight.
See also: out, sound

sound like a broken record

Endlessly repeating. The term alludes to a scratched phonograph record, in which the needle or stylus remains in the same groove and plays the same thing over and over. Although phonograph records have been largely replaced by other recording devices, the term remains current and is used figuratively to describe someone who keeps repeating something again and again. Still more figuratively, the Chicago Cubs’s online site headed an article, “Cubs’ latest loss sounds like a broken record” (July 1, 2010).
See also: broken, like, record, sound
References in periodicals archive ?
"The electric knife is a wonderful epiphenomenon," as Holldobler puts it, sounding a little wistful.
"The body is literally a symphony (or society) of electrical voices, sounding at different frequencies and intensities," the researchers said last November at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Honolulu.