Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sharp sibilant sound similar to a sustained s.
  • n. An expression of disapproval, contempt, or dissatisfaction conveyed by use of this sound.
  • intransitive v. To make a hiss: The audience booed and hissed. The teakettle hissed on the stove.
  • transitive v. To utter with a hiss:
  • transitive v. To express (a negative view or reaction) by uttering a hiss: The audience hissed its displeasure.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A high-pitched sound made by a snake, cat, escaping steam, etc.
  • n. An expression of disapproval made to sound like the noise of a snake.
  • v. To make a hissing sound.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A prolonged sound like that letter s, made by forcing out the breath between the tongue and teeth, esp. as a token of disapprobation or contempt.
  • n. Any sound resembling that above described.
  • n. The noise made by a serpent.
  • n. The note of a goose when irritated.
  • n. The noise made by steam escaping through a narrow orifice, or by water falling on a hot stove.
  • intransitive v. To make with the mouth a prolonged sound like that of the letter s, by driving the breath between the tongue and the teeth; to make with the mouth a sound like that made by a goose or a snake when angered; esp., to make such a sound as an expression of hatred, passion, or disapproval.
  • intransitive v. To make a similar noise by any means; to pass with a sibilant sound.
  • transitive v. To condemn or express contempt for by hissing.
  • transitive v. To utter with a hissing sound.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make or emit a sound like a prolonged enunciation of s, as a serpent or a goose; utter or send forth a long-drawn sibilation; hence, to emit any similar sound, as water thrown on hot metal, or as steam rushing through a small orifice; specifically (of persons), to express disapprobation or contempt by uttering such a sound.
  • To whizz, as an arrow or other thing in rapid flight.
  • To condemn or express disapproval of by hissing.
  • n. A continued sound like that of s; a prolonged sibilation produced by the organs of utterance, or any similar sound: as, a serpent's hiss. It is a common expression of disapprobation or contempt.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. move with a whooshing sound
  • n. a cry or noise made to express displeasure or contempt
  • n. a fricative sound (especially as an expression of disapproval)
  • v. express or utter with a hiss
  • v. show displeasure, as after a performance or speech
  • v. make a sharp hissing sound, as if to show disapproval

Etymologies

Middle English hissen, to hiss, of imitative origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Onomatopoeic. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Unfortunately the tablet recorded a hiss from the mixer.

    Archive 2005-05-01

  • At that time the British Constable was responsible for law and order in hiss village.

    Agricultural Co-ordination Within the Empire

  • Preston hit another hidden button and two large speakers lowered from the ceiling above the monitors; both hissed, but not from any electronic malfunction in their circuitry: The hiss was the sound of silence.

    Time Was

  • To hear the noise of serpent's hiss, that is thy harmony.

    A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Volume 6

  • In spite of my pretension of being the least susceptible regarding an author's vanity of all the writers in Paris, it is perfectly impossible to be indifferent to such a thing -- a hiss is a hiss.

    Gerfaut — Complete

  • They recorded directly to a stereo tape, so it wasn't like it was recorded to multi-tracks and then mixed onto another tape with a lot of hiss, which is why it was so clear.

    NPR Topics: News

  • Raparivelo recalled the hiss of bullets and the smell of gunfire as he crawled to safety uninjured.

    Committee to Protect Journalists

  • It could be a hypocoristic or baby-talk form of hysterical, or it might be from the imitative word hiss; or perhaps it is a variant of another dialect term, jesse, meaning a ` severe scolding, 'which is probably from a Biblical allusion.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XIX No 1

  • There are the odd hiccups, where characters "hiss" their dialogue, and other such tags, when a simple "said" would be better used.

    Book Review: "Strange Angels" by Lili St. Crow

  • To retain the artistic purity, they rid the recordings of any unintentional mechanical noise, such as hiss, clicks, sibilance.

    Meet the Beatles (Again)

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