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[ek-oh-loh-key-shuh n] /ˌɛk oʊ loʊˈkeɪ ʃən/
the general method of locating objects by determining the time for an echo to return and the direction from which it returns, as by radar or sonar.
Zoology. the sonarlike system used by dolphins, bats, and other animals to detect and locate objects by emitting usually high-pitched sounds that reflect off the object and return to the animal's ears or other sensory receptors.
Origin of echolocation
1944; echo + location Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for echolocation
  • Oldest known bat lacked hallmarks of echolocation.
  • It uses echolocation to scan for aerial plankton, which it scoops into its enormous mouth.
  • The equipment used to send and receive the sound is called sonar, and the process is called echolocation.
  • The oilbirds appear to use echolocation only within their cave homes and not during their nocturnal foraging.
  • The team drew on records from satellites that used radar altimeters, which work similarly to bats' echolocation, or natural radar.
  • Bottlenose dolphins track their prey through the expert use of echolocation.
  • Whale skulls only became asymmetrical as certain species evolved echolocation to hunt for food.
  • But it shows no trace of the equipment toothed whales use for echolocation.
  • They use echolocation to find their way in the dark and to find food.
  • The bat can then use its echolocation to navigate a safe path outside.
British Dictionary definitions for echolocation


determination of the position of an object by measuring the time taken for an echo to return from it and its direction
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 echolocation

1944, from echo (n.) + location.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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echolocation in Science
Sonar, especially of animals, such as bats and toothed whales. See more at sonar.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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