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Etymology edit

Borrowed from Latin sonōrus, from sonor (sound), early 17th century.

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Adjective edit

sonorous (comparative more sonorous, superlative most sonorous)

  1. Capable of giving out a deep, resonant sound.
    The highlight of the hike was the sonorous cave, which produced a ringing echo from the hiker’s shouts.
  2. Full of sound and rich, as in language or verse.
    He was selected to give the opening speech thanks to his imposing, sonorous voice.
    • 1761, Joseph Addison, The Works of the Late Right Honorable Joseph Addison, Esq., Birmingham: John Baskerville for J. and R. Tonson, →OCLC, pages 32–33:
      For this reason the Italian opera seldom sinks into a poorness of language, but, amidst all the meanness and familiarity of the thoughts, has something beautiful and sonorous in the expression.
    • 1859 July 25, Edward Everett, “Rufus Choate. Tributes to the Memory of the Hon. Rufus Choate”, in The New York Times, page 2:
      There is nothing of the artificial Johnsonian balance in his style. It is as often marked by a pregnant brevity as by a sonorous amplitude.
    • 1945 May and June, Cecil J. Allen, “British Locomotive Practice and Performance”, in Railway Magazine, page 152:
      When the right-away was given, Driver Gibson would give a sonorous blast on Cardean's deep-toned hooter, and amid a flurry of swirling steam the train would move majestically out, with nearly half the city of Carlisle—or so it would appear—as onlookers on the platform.
  3. Wordy or grandiloquent.
  4. (linguistics, phonetics) Produced with a relatively open vocal tract and relatively little obstruction of airflow.
    • 2001, Michael Dobrovolsky, “Phonetics: The Sounds of Language”, in William O'Grady, John Archibald, Mark Aronoff, Janie Rees-Miller, editors, Contemporary Linguistics, →ISBN, page 21:
      Vowels are more sonorous (acoustically powerful) than consonants, and so we perceive them as louder and lasting longer.

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