We have the word "flash" for "a quick passing of light". Do we have the equivalent for our auditory sense?

  • In some technical fields, the term soundburst is used to denote an isolated sound signal of short duration, analogous to a flash of light.
    – Kris
    Dec 22, 2013 at 6:07
  • Quite there, but I suppose the word "burst" is quite general. As in, I can apply it to "lightburst". I'm looking for a more specific one, if any.
    – justhalf
    Dec 22, 2013 at 6:10
  • 3
    burst by itself is general, which's why they use soundburst as a new single word. It's required because the sense of both suddenness and loudness are needed. Else we already have blip, crack, pip, bang, clap, ... that do not have exact definitions.
    – Kris
    Dec 22, 2013 at 6:18
  • Ah, I see. I'm still interested, though, in knowing whether there is such word for sound that does not contain the word "burst". Thanks for the list of suggestions!
    – justhalf
    Dec 22, 2013 at 6:24
  • "Sonic boom" isn't what you are looking for... I'm throwing my brainstorming into the mix of comments here...
    – Josh
    Dec 22, 2013 at 7:10

3 Answers 3


A fragmentary period of sound is called a burst of [noun describing sound]. E.g. a burst of noise or a burst of birdsong.

  • I guess I should go with "burst" for now. Will accept tomorrow if there is no better answer. Thanks Pitarou (and Kris for the comments)!
    – justhalf
    Dec 23, 2013 at 1:24


The sound produced by a sudden rush of air or liquid

  • Nice one. I was expecting for something applicable in many situations, but from the comments I guess each word was created for a specific usage. So this answer is ok. =)
    – justhalf
    Dec 23, 2013 at 1:21

How does 'peal' sound? (A loud burst of noise)

A peal of thunder

Goes along with a flash of lightning.

  • ‘Peal’ to me means almost exactly the opposite: it implies that the sound is prolonged or repeated. A peal of thunder is the same as a rolling of thunder, i.e., a lasting sound. Thunder is the sonic parallel to lightning, but unless you’re right up close to where the lightning strikes, it is not a brief burst of sound. Moreover, ‘peal’ is associated with the (again, prolonged) ringing of bells, which is probably too specific for what the asker wants. Dec 22, 2013 at 17:24
  • I've never heard about "peal" before. From what @JanusBahsJacquet explained, looks like it's a not-so-short event of noise, although it's not a continuous, very long noise. Good try, though.
    – justhalf
    Dec 23, 2013 at 1:23

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