Open main menu


Alternative formsEdit


Borrowed from Latin sonorus, from sonor (sound).



sonorous (comparative more sonorous, superlative most sonorous)

  1. Capable of giving out a deep, resonant sound.
  2. Full of sound and rich, as in language or verse.
    • 1761, Joseph Addison, The Works of the Late Right Honorable Joseph Addison, Esq., Birmingham: John Baskerville for J. and R. Tonson, OCLC 2078055, 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.
  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, and 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.

Related termsEdit