Alternative formsEdit


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



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.
    • 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.
    He was selected to give the opening speech thanks to his imposing, sonorous voice.
    • 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