I'm looking for a generic word that describes how something sounds, or what sounds something makes (to name a concept in a computer program I'm creating).

  • I've looked up "to make a sound" in a reverse dictionary, but none of the results seem to capture it.
  • I feel like "Audience" or "Audition" almost capture the idea, but this is not at all how the words are used.

"Appearance" is to how something looks as ______ is to how something sounds. What words can fill in that blank?

  • 2
    Sound is the generic noun, formed from the flip sense verb sound. – John Lawler Sep 29 '15 at 20:46

In a technical context, it might be acoustic signature.

But in a general layman context where precision is not expected:

  • audible characteristic
  • acoustics
  • energy
  • synergy
  • aural feel
  • auricular type

and combinations of those.

  • 2
    I think for a single word to be used in the context of Clinton's program, acoustics should be sufficient. It's not technically following the dictionary definition of acoustics, but in layman's terms, AmE speakers will say acoustics versus acoustic signature. – kayleeFrye_onDeck Sep 29 '15 at 21:13
  • 1
    @kayleeFrye_onDeck: Good suggestion. I added it. – wallyk Sep 29 '15 at 22:34

Tone has many meanings (source Dictionary.com) that may fit:

  • any sound considered with reference to its quality, pitch, strength, source, etc.
  • quality or character of sound.
  • vocal sound; the sound made by vibrating muscular bands in the larynx.
  • a particular quality, way of sounding, modulation, or intonation of the voice as expressive of some meaning, feeling, spirit, etc.
  • the characteristic quality or timbre of a particular instrument or voice.
  • an accent peculiar to a person, people, locality, etc., or a characteristic mode of sounding words in speech.
  • stress of voice on a syllable of a word.
  • 2
    I think tone is too specific for this context. – kayleeFrye_onDeck Sep 29 '15 at 22:36

Appearance is to how something looks as aurality is to how something sounds.

  • 1
    The caveat here is that aurality specifies ears/organic noise detection. – kayleeFrye_onDeck Sep 29 '15 at 21:09

If it's specifically for computer/digital noises, tones could be used quite well.

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