The following passage is quoted from the article titled Which Type of Exercise Is Best for the Brain? by Gretchen Reynolds in The New York Times. What does the word "resonantly" mean?

As I have often written, exercise changes the structure and function of the brain. Studies in animals and people have shown that physical activity generally increases brain volume and can reduce the number and size of age-related holes in the brain's white and gray matter.

Exercise also, and perhaps most resonantly, augments adult neurogenesis, which is the creation of new brain cells in an already mature brain.

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    What do you think resonantly means here? Have you googled it and tried applying those definitions to the context? Please update the OP to show the research you've done before posting. – Hank Dec 29 '16 at 14:35
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    I have edited the text and added a missing comma that turns "and perhaps most resonantly" into a parenthetical phrase. – Mick Dec 29 '16 at 14:36
  • Considering the previous reference to holes in the brain, I think the author was having a bit of fun. Resonance is a characteristic of voids. Pun aside, she's wanting to suggest that among the several reasons, the one to which folks will connect most strongly is that it augments adult neurogenesis. – Phil Sweet Dec 29 '16 at 16:27

Resonate's third sense, according to Merriam-Webster, is

to relate harmoniously : strike a chord. "A message that resonates with voters"

It seems the author has turned resonate into its adjectival form resonant, then made that the adverb resonantly. Interestingly, Merriam-Webster does not have a definition for resonant that means "relating harmoniously, striking a chord with."

So, the meaning of the entire sentence would be something along the lines of "Compared to other benefits, the fact that exercise augments adult neurogenesis will be very meaningful/important to the reader."


Most resonantly in the sense that exercise causes the creation of new brain cells in an already mature brain resonates with the topic which type of Exercise Is Best for the Brain. When you pump your feet on a playground swing in resonance with the swing's back and forth motion the pumping action amplifies the motion of the swing and you swing higher and higher. Exercise is a cyclic activity so plus 10 style points for introducing the image of repeated exercise generating new brain cells in a manner similar to pumping a swing to make the swing go higher. :-)

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    This doesn't answer the user's question. – Katherine Lockwood Dec 29 '16 at 16:11
  • @KatherineLockwood Thank you. I edited the answer to make it clear. – MikeJRamsey56 Dec 29 '16 at 16:43
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    Some knowledge of physics helps. – MikeJRamsey56 Dec 29 '16 at 18:12
  • Music majors may find that acoustic resonance provides better imagery than Mechanical resonance. – MikeJRamsey56 Dec 29 '16 at 19:41
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    @KristinaLopez most of my fellow classmates in undergraduate physics were musicians so I am not surprised. Back when I was an undergraduate none of the students in my science and math classes could understand why I took so much English lit. Conversely, I developed the habit of telling my English lit classmates that I was majoring in pre law. I found that they were more likely to talk to me a second time. Thank you for the up vote. – MikeJRamsey56 Dec 29 '16 at 22:12

It is a strange choice of word for a medical article, even one that is aimed at the general reader. From the context, the intended meaning seems to be "having the greatest effect":


  1. The condition in which an electric circuit or device produces the largest possible response to an applied oscillating signal.

Oxford Living Dictionaries

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