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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Noise levels in factories must not exceed 85 decibels.
▪ About 15 percent were listening at levels of 110-115 decibels.
▪ Any bar or disco which exceeds its permitted decibel limit can be shut down on the spot for the night by police.
▪ At 95 decibels, about the sound level of a lawn mower, workers are allowed four hours' exposure.
▪ NoiseBuster reduces up to 15 decibels in that frequency bandwidth.
▪ The acoustics of an empty garage or any interior location intensifies the decibels to an unbearable level.
▪ To give you an idea what that means, 80 decibels is generated by a typical alarm clock.
▪ Tonight's contribution is awesome in the decibels of that noise.
▪ Twenty-five dollars was considerably more than he expected, they must have been charging by the decibel.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1928, from deci- + bel (n.).\n\nProgress in science and industry is constantly demanding new terms and one of the latest of these is the word "decibel," coined by telephone engineers to describe the efficiency of telephone circuits. It is a substitute for the phrase "transmission unit." The actual unit decided upon was first called "bel," after the inventor of the telephone. The bel, however, is larger than is needed in practice, and, therefore, a unit one-tenth as large was adopted by engineers and named the decibel.

["Popular Mechanics," May 1929]


n. A common measure of sound intensity that is one tenth of a bel on the logarithmic intensity scale. It is defined as dB = 10 * log10(P 1/P 2), where P1 and P2 are the relative powers of the sound.


n. a logarithmic unit of sound intensity; 10 times the logarithm of the ratio of the sound intensity to some reference intensity [syn: dB]

Decibel (magazine)

Decibel is a monthly heavy metal magazine published by the Philadelphia-based Red Flag Media since October 2004. Its sections include Upfront, Features, Reviews, Guest Columns and the Decibel Hall of Fame. The magazine's tag-line is currently "Extremely Extreme" (previously "The New Noise"); the editor-in-chief is Albert Mudrian.

Decibel (disambiguation)

The decibel (dB) is a measure of the ratio between two quantities.

Decibel may also refer to:

  • Decibel (company), a company providing a music discovery metadata database
  • Decibel (magazine), a heavy metal periodical
  • Decibel Festival, an electronic music and visual art event
  • A song by AC/DC on the album Black Ice
  • An alternative name for Chamber, a character from the Marvel Universe

Usage examples of "decibel".

Whistler, wearing a tall, Lincolnesque stovepipe hat, a black dustcoat and round opaque white glasses and looking like nothing so much as a cartoon, launched into a weird Star-Wars Cantina anthem at major decibels on his synthesizer.

She was pleased that people were enjoying themselves, whereas Colin, had he been there, would have paced up and down ready to complain as the decibels rose.

She figured she could get 120 decibels easy and scare the hell out of anybody looking to give her trouble.

The uproar from the outer rooms had risen several decibels, but just before Marcial had to leave he paused and said in a totally different voice, "My grandson Antonito Vincente has four teeth!

Numbers were important because whatever fears we might have had concerning the shattering of our minds were largely dispelled by the satisfaction of knowing precisely how we were being driven mad, at what decibel rating, what mach-ratio, what force of aerodynamic drag.

The door opened, and the tomblike silence was shattered by a blare of Mexican music that was heavy on decibels and brass instruments.

The walls were brownstone-the hardest building material other than granite or marble to tunnel or blast through-and the windows were blocked with bars that looked like old iron but that Stephen knew were really case-hardened steel and would be wired with motion or decibel sensors or both.

Prolonged and repeated exposure to sounds of 80 to 85 decibels stiffens and kills hair cells in the inner ear.

They moved swiftly aft, crouched low as if making a stealthy approach, an attempt in which they were rather handicapped by being flung from bulkhead to bulkhead with every lurch of the Colombo: they had tried to compensate for this by removing their boots, no doubt to reduce the noise level of their approach, a rather ludicrous tactic in the circumstances because the torpedo boat was banging and crashing about to such a high decibel extent that they could have marched purposefully along in hob-nailed boots without anyone being any way the wiser.

The noise level went up by another few decibels, if that was possible, and she did what she was supposed to do: she looked not at her father, but out on to the crowd, into the battery of lenses, and waved.

Leaving a trail of booming decibels, he performed a power slide behind One Police Plaza, then crossed Park Row without waiting for a break in the traffic, and felt as if he were saved only by some abstruse corollary of particle physics: He wasn't in the same state, particle or wave, long enough for anyone to hit him.

The great outdoors with its fragile systems was created for the convenience of fools who tear into the heart of a wilderness area to gawk at the grizzlies, get indignant if one gets too close, and roar off in a cloud of noxious exhaust, trailing Rush Limbaugh at ninety decibels and leaving behind their sewage.

Ordinary conversation registers at 60 decibels and some factory and rush hour noise at 90, but a disco or rock concert is usually at 97 and can go as high as 120, almost as loud as a jet airplane taking off.

Decibel alarms were legally required in every meeting hall, in-chiding churches, but clever agitators could and had sabotaged them so that the suppressant gases were not released when the "noise" level reached the sharp pitch of incipient riot.

With aplomb normally seen only among senescent English butlers, Bong-Bong reached up with his horn/gearshift hand and gripped a brilliant stainless-steel chain flailing from ceiling of cab with a stainless-steel crucifix on the end of it and jerked downwards, energizing the secondary, tertiary, and quaternary honking systems: a trio of tuba-sized stainless-steel horns mounted to the roof of THE GRACE OF GOD and collectively drawing so much power that our vehicle's speed dropped by (I would estimate) ten km/hr as its energies were diverted into decibel production.