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[uh-koo-stiks] /əˈku stɪks/
(used with a singular verb) Physics. the branch of physics that deals with sound and sound waves.
(used with a plural verb) the qualities or characteristics of a room, auditorium, stadium, etc., that determine the audibility or fidelity of sounds in it.
Origin of acoustics
1675-85; see acoustic, -ics
Related forms
hyperacoustics, noun


[uh-koo-stik] /əˈku stɪk/
adjective, Also, acoustical
pertaining to the sense or organs of hearing, to sound, or to the science of sound.
(of a building material) designed for controlling sound.
  1. of, relating to, or being a musical instrument whose sound is not electrically enhanced or modified.
  2. arranged for or made up of such instruments:
    an acoustic solo; an acoustic group.
Obsolete. a remedy for deafness or imperfect hearing.
1595-1605; < Greek akoustikós. See acouasm, -tic
Related forms
acoustically, adverb
nonacoustic, adjective, noun
nonacoustical, adjective
nonacoustically, adverb
unacoustic, adjective
unacoustical, adjective
unacoustically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for acoustics
  • The effective use of implied sub-spaces, seating arrangements, lighting and acoustics was missing.
  • The rise of the science of acoustics supported the ever-increasing advancements in the art of music making.
  • Many use it to communicate, and almost all rely on acoustics to navigate a dark, often turbid world.
  • The stern face across the room, picking up on their confusion through a trick in the apartment's acoustics, broke into a smile.
  • The world has enough of these tunes to last until the final bar band turns to dust, but you admire the acoustics here.
  • Costs and acoustics kept speaker design confined, but two new models radically break the mold.
  • Fine acoustics in a hall certainly enhances listening pleasure.
  • When the hall is sparsely filled, it has troublesome acoustics.
  • And remember, there is no air-conditioning in the house, for fear that the whir of motors would affect the glorious acoustics.
  • Even if you buy nothing, the reverberant acoustics and filtered light in any arcade make a stroll-through a worthwhile excursion.
British Dictionary definitions for acoustics


(functioning as sing) the scientific study of sound and sound waves
(functioning as pl) the characteristics of a room, auditorium, etc, that determine the fidelity with which sound can be heard within it


of or related to sound, the sense of hearing, or acoustics
designed to respond to, absorb, or control sound: an acoustic tile
(of a musical instrument or recording) without electronic amplification: an acoustic bass, an acoustic guitar
Derived Forms
acoustically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Greek akoustikos, from akouein to hear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for acoustics

1680s, "science of sound," from acoustic (also see -ics). Meaning "acoustic properties" of a building, etc., attested from 1885.



c.1600, from French acoustique, from Greek akoustikos "pertaining to hearing," from akoustos "heard, audible," verbal adjective from akouein "to hear," probably from copulative prefix a- + koein "to mark, perceive, hear," from PIE *kous- "to hear," perhaps from root *(s)keu- "to notice, observe" (see caveat). Acoustic guitar (as opposed to electric) attested by 1958. Related: Acoustical; acoustically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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acoustics in Medicine

acoustics a·cous·tics (ə-kōō'stĭks)
The scientific study of sound, especially of its generation, transmission, and reception.

acoustic a·cous·tic (ə-kōō'stĭk) or a·cous·ti·cal (-stĭ-kəl)
Of or relating to sound, the sense of hearing, or the perception of sound.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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acoustics in Science

  1. (Used with a singular verb) The scientific study of sound and its transmission.

  2. (Used with a plural verb) The total effect of sound, especially as produced in an enclosed space.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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