We say that a light source shines, and that one source may out-shine another. Is there an equivalent term for a sound, that does not include a negative connotation? For example, "Her voice was able to [outshine] all others in the room."

If we wanted to convey that one sound outshined another, we might say, drown-out or shout-over, but again either drown or shout has negative, harsh connotations. The only analogous term to shine, but for sounds, that I can think of is to ring. But there is no obvious out-ring version.

This is not the same as "To camouflage" is to sight as "to ____" is to sound, because "outshine"---the be brighter, more visible---is distinct from "camouflage"---to hide, disguise, or coverup.

  • Possible duplicate of "To camouflage" is to sight as "to ____" is to sound: 'What could be used for hiding one sound under another?' – Edwin Ashworth Oct 21 '17 at 22:53
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    Not a single word, but we often use height or layering metaphors with sound: "Her voice could be heard over all others in the room" or, to use ring, "her voice rang (out) above all others in the room" etc. – 1006a Oct 21 '17 at 22:54
  • OP in the question with the answer broadens the question to 'What could be used for hiding one sound under another?' As there is no prescription there on a negative tenor, 'drown out' is offered, but the question includes the non-negative case. 'Mask' is suggested. // 'Eclipsed' has no or not much negative connotation, but is a poor metaphor for sound. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 21 '17 at 23:35
  • In audio, presence and prominence are often used to express sound quality usually in comparison to/with others. – Stan Oct 25 '17 at 4:04

There is the notion of raising one's voice so as to be heard. So, perhaps transcend would be a suitable synonym to choose.

:to outstrip or outdo in some attribute, quality, or power


I don't think there is any such single word in English.

The closest terms would probably be "drown out," "overwhelm," or "bury," all of which have the negative connotations that the OP seeks to avoid; and "overpower," which, with its broad range of applications, is less finely tuned to sensory stimuli than "outshine" is.


You should consider overshadow which is generic and not really specific to sound.

"Her voice was able to overshadow all others in the room."


overshadow VERB


2 Appear much more prominent or important than.
‘his competitive nature often overshadows the other qualities’

Usage examples in the context of voice:

Google search for "overshadow other voices".
Google search for "overshadows other voices".
Note: some of them use voice in the figurative sense of opinion.

  • Thanks, I like this suggestion. I also appreciate the irony that it is still based (explicitly) on a visual metaphor! – DilithiumMatrix Oct 24 '17 at 21:45

The word outsing might be what you're looking for:

'She was able to outsing all others in the room'.

According to the OED it means 'to sing better or louder than someone else'.

Merriam-Webster defines it as 'to outdo or surpass in singing'.

I've heard it used in (UK) folk-singing circles and in choirs.


The word resound just came to me as a good possibility, google says (emphasis added),

/ rəˈzound /

  1. (of a sound, voice, etc.) fill a place with sound; be loud enough to echo. "another scream resounded through the school" synonyms: echo, re-echo, reverberate, ring out, boom, thunder, rumble "the explosion resounded around the silent street"

  2. literary sing (the praises) of. "Horace resounds the praises of Italy"

My impression is that resound would be a good sonic equivalent to shine, which implicitly includes the sense of out-shining --- at least enough to still be clearly discernible.

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