from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A sharp, high-pitched sound, as that made by a bullet striking metal.
  • noun A protocol that sends a message to another computer and waits for acknowledgment, often used to check if another computer on a network is reachable.
  • intransitive verb To make a sharp, high-pitched, metallic sound.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The whistling sound made by a bullet, as from a rifle, in passing through the air.
  • To produce a sound like that of a rifle-bullet whistling through the air.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To make the sound called ping.
  • noun The sound made by a bullet in striking a solid object or in passing through the air.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A high-pitched, short and somewhat sharp sound.
  • noun submarine navigation A pulse of high-pitched or ultrasonic sound whose echoes provide information about nearby objects and vessels.
  • noun networking A packet which a remote host is expected to echo, thus indicating its presence.
  • noun text messaging, Internet An email or other message sent requesting acknowledgement.
  • verb To make a high-pitched, short and somewhat sharp sound.
  • verb submarine navigation To emit a signal and then listen for its echo in order to detect objects.
  • verb networking To send a packet in order to determine whether a host is present, particularly by use of the ping utility.
  • verb networking To ping and receive an acknowledgement.
  • verb To send an email or other message to someone in hopes of eliciting a response.
  • verb colloquial To flick.
  • verb colloquial, sports, intransitive To bounce.
  • verb colloquial, sports, transitive To cause something to bounce.

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

  • verb hit with a pinging noise
  • noun a river in western Thailand; a major tributary of the Chao Phraya
  • verb contact, usually in order to remind of something
  • noun a sharp high-pitched resonant sound (as of a sonar echo or a bullet striking metal)
  • verb make a short high-pitched sound
  • verb send a message from one computer to another to check whether it is reachable and active
  • verb sound like a car engine that is firing too early


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

[Imitative. Sense 2, so called by American programmer Michael Muuss (1958–2000), author of the original protocol code, in reference to sonar pings.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License




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  • A program which sends a message from one computer to another to verify they are connected. In programming jargon, it has extended to all sorts of things. Such as, we're about to leave for lunch, why don't you ping John at his desk and see if he wants to come.

    October 31, 2007

  • I'm pretty sure the word originally comes from naval jargon. A ping is a sound emitted by a ship to find submarines via echolocation, I think.

    October 31, 2007

  • That's how I first heard the word too, uselessness.

    November 1, 2007

  • 1833 Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. Mar. 306/2 There was no ping pinging of the shot overhead.

    April 22, 2008

  • "From my point of view PING is not an acronym standing for Packet InterNet Grouper, it's a sonar analogy."

    - Mike Muuss The software author of the PING command.

    March 21, 2014