As in "an echoey room". People do use this word in speech, but it isn't proper in writing. I thought of "echoing", but that implies that something is currently making an echo, whereas what I'm looking for would mean that if there was a noise in the room, it would echo. Are there any real words for this?

  • I think you'd just have to say "A room with a lot of echo." Most sound engineers would say something like "dead" or possibly "flat" to mean the opposite. An industry person might possibly say something like "bouncy" or the like - but it would be irrelevant to non-arcane usage. – Fattie Jul 7 '11 at 12:07
  • echoey is listed as a valid adjective – JoseK Jul 7 '11 at 12:11
  • @JoseK: I see. It's just not in dictionary.com. But even here, it's supposed to be used of a sound, not of a room. (Or can I fudge?) And why doesn't this spellchecker allow "echoey"? – Daniel Jul 7 '11 at 12:13
  • Oh well... it doesn't allow "reverberant" either - and I did spell it correctly! – Daniel Jul 7 '11 at 12:17
  • 1
    @JosefK: echoey has a very clumsy sound though IMO. – jaybee Jul 7 '11 at 12:21

Reverberant - having a tendency to reverberate or be repeatedly reflected; "a reverberant room"; "the reverberant booms of cannon".

  • +1: At first I didn't like the look of "reverberant room", but checking with an Ngram, I found that it's much more common than "echoey", even when applied to "room". – Daniel Jul 7 '11 at 12:18
  • +1 It's interesting to note that a sound-deadened chamber is anechoic, but that "echoic" is not really synonymous with reverberant. Ahh, English ... – Robusto Jul 7 '11 at 12:54

The other word I've seen used is "live" or perhaps "lively", used as a direct opposite of "flat" or "dead" (used in a musical or acoustic context).

  • 2
    Live is very good acoustic lingo, but I don't know if it would commonly understood. – Kit Z. Fox Jul 7 '11 at 13:49
  • Live needs context -- works only in the right context. – Kris Oct 1 '12 at 11:02

Aside from "echoey" itself and "live" (as @BradC suggests), I might use "resonant".

  • I wouldn't really go with "resonant", personally. The connotation is a bit different than with "reverberant", even if there is some overlap. – JAB Jul 7 '11 at 16:07

Is there anything wrong with 'an echoing room'?

Edited: though echoing originally meant 'with echoes currently resounding', surely it has an extended meaning as well. "The Queen lives in an echoing palace" doesn't cease to be true when there's no noise.


"echoic" would work in a narrow technical sense, but you could figuratively expand it, if you were so inclined. E.g., Apparent distance of sounds recorded in echoic and anechoic chambers.

Resonant, lively, resounding, reverberant all seem useful in various contexts.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.