Printable Version
Pronunciation: re-zê-nayt Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. (Intransitive) Make a prolonged or reverberating sound, as 'the playground voices resonated a block away'. 2. (Transitive) To acoustically reflect, to be sympathetically activated by sound as, 'a glass resonated her voice until it broke'. 3. (Intransitive) Evoke an emotional response, especially a positive one, as 'an idea that resonates with the electorate'. 4. (Intransitive) Reverberate, produce an electrical or electronic resonance, as 'to turn up the resonance on a guitar'.

Notes: Resonate is historically related to resound. Any sound that resonates is resonant, which comes with an adverb, resonantly, and a noun, resonance. Anything that resonates is a resonator.

In Play: In its literal sense, resonate may be heard in expressions like this: "Caribbean music resonated throughout the city last night as people enjoyed a West Indian carnival." In its figurative sense, we are apt to find it in sentences like this: "Sarah Soda starred in a movie that resonated with all Floridians."

Word History: Today's Good Word is an English remake of resonatus "resonated", the past participle of Latin resonare, comprising re- "over, again" + sonare "to sound". Latin came by its word genetically from PIE swen- "to sound, echo", source also of Sanskrit svanati "to sound, resound". It arrived in English, Icelandic, and German as swan, svanur, and Schwan, respectively. We find it today in Irish seinm "(musical) rendition" and, perhaps, in Latvian skaņa "sound". The stem of Latin sonare is visible in many English borrowings, like sonic, sonata, sonorous, and unison. (Yet again, we owe gratitude to wordmaster Albert Skiles for recommending today's Good Word with its lovely sound and meaning.)

Dr. Goodword,

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