Definition of sonar in English:

sonar

noun

mass noun
  • 1A system for the detection of objects under water by emitting sound pulses and detecting or measuring their return after being reflected.

    as modifier ‘a weak sonar signal’
    • ‘And evidence that sonar kills whales goes way beyond coincidence.’
    • ‘The SUNS system can determine positions underwater by the use of small buoys which broadcast the position and time references by sonar signals.’
    • ‘Now, video footage and sonar data proves conclusively that the wreck is not Centaur.’
    • ‘Out in the Atlantic, vast Japanese factory ships work nonstop, using modern sonar detection to spot the tuna shoals they sweep the ocean clean of fish.’
    • ‘For instance, he said, its active and passive sonar systems are aging, thus shortening the range of its monitoring.’
    1. 1.1count noun An apparatus used in sonar.
      ‘we reduced the sensitivity of our scanning sonars’
      • ‘It is equipped with a ham radio set, personal computer, global positioning system, two sonars, autopilot and wind wane which steers the boat depending on the direction of the wind.’
      • ‘Autosub will be using sonars to study the seabed.’
      • ‘They will be equipped with the latest survey systems, including multi-beam echo sounders and modern side-scan sonars, as well as the most advanced navigation and communications systems.’
      • ‘Acms receives data from the sonars and other sensors and, through advanced algorithms and data handling, displays real time images on the command consoles.’
      • ‘It just seemed to me that it would be more interesting to have things like submarine sonars and old grandfather clocks and lines from famous movies and bird songs and things like that.’
    2. 1.2 The method of echolocation used in air or water by animals such as whales and bats.
      ‘the fishing nets are detectable by dolphin sonar’
      • ‘The knowledge the researchers gain about bat sonar is tested out on dolphins and applied to human sonar systems.’
      • ‘The animal's sensitive sonar is capable of picking up information about the shape of distant objects, and it was trained to respond in some distinctive way to this piece of information.’
      • ‘They believe that by being in the water with the animals and feeling their sonar they too are receiving a ‘healing’.’
      • ‘Hearing the unusual ping, the animals might turn on their echolocators - their sonar - and then they can sense the net.’
      • ‘While the animals lack sonar, they do posses superb directional underwater hearing and the ability to see in near-darkness.’

Origin

1940s: from so(und) na(vigation and) r(anging), on the pattern of radar.

Pronunciation

sonar

/ˈsəʊnɑː/