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

  • n. A sharp, high-pitched sound, as that made by a bullet striking metal.
  • n. See knock.
  • intransitive v. To make a sharp, high-pitched, metallic sound.
  • n. 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

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

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

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


p(acket) in(formation) g(roper).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Onomatopoeic. (Wiktionary)



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  • "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

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

    April 22, 2008

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

    November 1, 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

  • 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