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In geography, a sound or seaway is a long, relatively wide body of water, larger than a strait or channel, forming an inlet or connecting two larger bodies of water, such as two seas, or a sea and a lake.
There is little consistency in the use of 'sound' in English-language place names.
The Sound is the internationally recognized, short name for the Øresund, the narrow stretch of water that separates Sweden and Denmark and is the main waterway between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. It is also a colloquial short name, among others, for Plymouth Sound, England.
In the more general northern European usage, a sound is a strait or the most narrow part of a strait. In Scandinavia and around the Baltic Sea, there are more than a hundred straits named Sund, mostly named for the island they separate from the continent or a larger island.
In areas explored by the British in the late 18th Century, particularly the northwest coast of North America, the term 'sound' was applied to inlets containing large islands, such as Puget Sound and Howe Sound. It was also applied to bodies of open water still not fully open to the ocean, such as Queen Charlotte Sound and Caamaño Sound, or broadenings or mergings at the openings of inlets, like Fitz Hugh Sound and Cross Sound.
In the United States, Long Island Sound separates Long Island from the coast of Connecticut, but on the Atlantic Ocean side of Long Island, the body of water between the ocean and its barrier beaches is termed the Great South Bay. Pamlico Sound is a similar lagoon that lies between North Carolina and its barrier beaches, the Outer Banks, in a similar situation. The Mississippi Sound separates the Gulf of Mexico from the mainland, along much of the gulf coasts of Mississippi and Alabama. On the West Coast, Puget Sound, by contrast, is a deep arm of the ocean.
A sound is often formed by the sea flooding a river valley. This produces a long inlet where the sloping valley hillsides descend to sea-level and continue beneath the water to form a sloping sea floor. The Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand are a good example of this type of formation.
Sometimes a sound is produced by a glacier carving out a valley on the coast then receding, or the sea invading a glacier valley. The glacier produces a sound that often has steep, near vertical, sides that extend deep under water. The sea floor is often flat and deeper at the landward end than the seaward end, due to glacial moraine deposits. This type of sound is more properly termed a fjord (or fiord). The sounds in Fiordland, New Zealand, have been formed this way.
A sound generally connotes a protected anchorage.
There are two possible explanations of the origin of the word:
The word sund is already documented in Old Norse and Old English in the meaning of "gap" (or "narrow access"). This suggests a relation to verbs meaning "to separate" such as sondre (Norwegian), söndra (Swedish), German absondern and aussondern, as well as the English noun sin, Swedish synd, German Sünde ("apart from God's law"). Swedish has also the adjective sönder = "broken", and English has the adjective "asunder".
In Swedish and in both Norwegian languages, "sund" is the general term for any strait. In Swedish and Nynorsk, it is even part of names worldwide, such as in Swedish "Berings sund" and "Gibraltar sund", in Nynorsk "Beringsundet" and "Gibraltarsundet".
Bodies of water called sounds
- Broad Sound near Clairview, Queensland
- Camden Sound at Kuri Bay, Western Australia
- Cockburn Sound, Western Australia
- Denham Sound, part of Shark Bay in Western Australia
- King George Sound at Albany, Western Australia
- King Sound at Derby, Western Australia
- Montague Sound, near Bigge Island, Western Australia
- Noosa Sound, Noosa, Queensland
- York Sound, Western Australia
- Exuma Sound, bordered by Eleuthera, Cat Island and Great Exuma, among others
- Millars Sound, New Providence
- North Sound, Bimini
- Rock Sound, Eleuthera
- Great Sound, towards the island's northwest end
- Harrington Sound, towards the northeast end
- Little Sound, part of Great Sound
- Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia
- Baynes Sound between Denman Island and Vancouver Island, British Columbia
- Chatham Sound, off the North Coast of British Columbia
- Clayoquot Sound in Vancouver Island, British Columbia
- Cumberland Sound in Baffin Island's east coast
- Desolation Sound between the Discovery Islands and the coast of British Columbia
- Eclipse Sound between Baffin Island and Bylot Island in Nunavut
- Eureka Sound between Ellesmere Island and Axel Heiberg Island in Nunavut
- Fitz Hugh Sound on the Central Coast of British Columbia
- Hamilton Sound between Fogo Island and the Island of Newfoundland
- Howe Sound, an inlet northwest of Vancouver, British Columbia
- Jones Sound between Devon Island and Ellesmere Island in Nunavut
- Kyuquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia
- Lancaster Sound between Devon Island and Baffin Island in Nunavut
- Massey Sound between Amund Ringnes Island and Axel Heiberg Island in Nunavut
- Nansen Sound between Ellesmere Island and Axel Heiberg Island in Nunavut
- Newman Sound in Terra Nova National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador
- Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia
- Northumberland Sound between Maclean Strait and Norwegian Bay, Nunavut
- Owen Sound in Ontario
- Parry Sound in Ontario
- Peel Sound between Prince of Wales Island and Somerset Island in Nunavut
- Quatsino Sound on northern Vancouver Island
- Queen Charlotte Sound off British Columbia
- Random Sound near Clarenville in Newfoundland and Labrador
- Roes Welcome Sound between Southampton Island and Hudson Bay's west shore in Nunavut
- Severn Sound in Ontario
- Viscount Melville Sound between Banks Island and Melville Island in Nunavut
- Frank Sound on Grand Cayman
- Little Sound on Grand Cayman
- North Sound on Grand Cayman
- South Hole Sound on Little Cayman
- South Sound on Grand Cayman
- Adventure Sound in East Falkland
- Berkeley Sound in East Falkland
- Byron Sound in West Falkland
- Choiseul Sound in East Falkland
- Falkland Sound between East Falkland and West Falkland
- The Sound of Chausey.
- Campeche Sound in Campeche
- Doubtful Sound
- Dusky Sound
- Marlborough Sounds in South Island
- Milford Sound south of South Island
- Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand in South Island
- The Sound, another name for Øresund, a body of water between Sweden and Denmark
- On the coasts of (western) Baltic Sea and Norway there are more than a hundred straits named "Sund" (the Scandinavian and German version of "sound"), mostly in connection with the name of the island they devide from the continent or a mainland.
- Calf Sound between Isle of Man and the Calf of Man
- Heigham Sound, connected by Candle Dyke to the River Thurne, Norfolk
- Plymouth Sound in Plymouth, Devon
- Sounds of Scotland
- Albemarle Sound in North Carolina
- Back Sound in North Carolina
- Block Island Sound between Block Island and mainland Rhode Island
- Bogue Sound in North Carolina
- Breton Sound in Louisiana
- Broad Sound near Boston
- Core Sound in North Carolina
- Croatan Sound in North Carolina
- Cross Sound in Alaska
- Currituck Sound in North Carolina
- Frederick Sound in Alaska
- Kotzebue Sound in Alaska
- Long Island Sound between Long Island, New York and Connecticut
- Mississippi Sound in Mississippi and Alabama
- Nantucket Sound off Nantucket, Massachusetts
- Norton Sound in Alaska
- Pamlico Sound in North Carolina
- Pine Island Sound near Cape Coral, Florida
- Port Royal Sound in South Carolina
- Prince William Sound in Alaska
- Puget Sound in Washington
- Rhode Island Sound off Rhode Island
- Roanoke Sound in North Carolina
- Saint Helena Sound near Beaufort, South Carolina
- Salisbury Sound in Alaska
- Santa Rosa Sound in the Florida Panhandle
- Sitka Sound in Alaska
- Somes Sound in Mount Desert Island, Maine (arguably a fjard)
- Vineyard Sound off Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
- "sound-3". TheFreeDictionary.com. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "sound-4". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "Baltic Straits". Chapter 2.3: International straits and canals. UNESCO Maritime Law. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "Millars Sound". GeoNames. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "River Thurne: West Somerton to Candle Dyke including Horsey Mere and Hickling Broad". Peter's Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Cruising Guide. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
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