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sound barrier

noun
1.
Also called sonic barrier, transonic barrier. (not in technical use) a hypothetical barrier to flight beyond the speed of sound, so postulated because aircraft undergo an abruptly increasing drag force induced by compression of the surrounding air when traveling near the speed of sound.
Idioms
2.
break the sound barrier, to travel faster than the speed of sound.
Origin
1950-1955
1950-55
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for sound barrier
  • Breaking the sound barrier generates a sonic boom, so supersonic travel is heavily restricted over land.
  • New craft have broken the sound barrier, mastered vertical take-off and landing, and visited the moon.
  • Science used to think you couldn't break the sound barrier either.
  • It is the first aircraft to break the sound barrier on biofuel.
  • But when you punched through the sound barrier it was a jolt of pure adrenaline.
British Dictionary definitions for sound barrier

sound barrier

noun
1.
(not in technical usage) a hypothetical barrier to flight at or above the speed of sound, when a sudden large increase in drag occurs Also called sonic barrier, transonic barrier
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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sound barrier in Science
sound barrier  
The sharp increase in drag experienced by aircraft approaching the speed of sound. Also called sonic barrier.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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sound barrier in Culture

sound barrier definition


The sudden increase in air resistance that occurs when an aircraft approaches the speed of sound. This is also called the sonic barrier.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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6
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