ech·o / ˈekō/ • n. (pl. ech·oes) 1. a sound or series of sounds caused by the reflection of sound waves from a surface back to the listener: the walls threw back the echoes of his footsteps. ∎ a reflected radio or radar beam. ∎ the deliberate introduction of reverberation into a sound recording. ∎ Linguistics the repetition in structure and content of one speaker's utterance by another. ∎ a close parallel or repetition of an idea, feeling, style, or event: his love for her found an echo in her own feelings. ∎ (often echoes) a detail or characteristic that is suggestive of something else: the cheese has a sharp rich aftertaste with echoes of salty, earthy pastures. 2. Bridge a play by a defender of a higher card in a suit followed by a lower one in a subsequent trick, used as a signal to request a further lead of that suit by their partner. 3. a code word representing the letter E, used in radio communication. • v. (ech·oes, ech·oed) [intr.] 1. (of a sound) be repeated or reverberate after the original sound has stopped: their footsteps echoed on the metal catwalks. ∎ (of a place) resound with or reflect back a sound or sounds: the house echoed with shouts and thundering feet. ∎ fig. have a continued significance or influence: illiteracy echoed through the whole fabric of society. ∎ [tr.] (often be echoed) repeat (someone's words or opinions), typically to express agreement: these criticisms are echoed in a number of other studies ∎ [tr.] Comput. send a copy of (an input signal or character) back to its source or to a screen for display: for security reasons, the password will not be echoed to the screen. 2. Bridge (of a defender) play a higher card followed by a lower one in the same suit, as a signal to request one's partner to lead that suit. DERIVATIVES: ech·o·er n. ech·o·ey / ˈekō-ē/ adj.
In Greek mythology , Echo was a mountain nymph who annoyed Hera (pronounced HAIR-uh), queen of the gods, by talking to her constandy. Echo's chatter distracted Hera and prevented her from discovering the love affairs of her husband, Zeus (pronounced ZOOS). As punishment, Hera took away Echo's power of speech so that she could say nothing except the last words spoken by someone else.
Other myths tell of Echo's falling in love with Narcissus (pronounced nar-SIS-us), the handsome son of a river god. However, Narcissus rejected Echo because she could only repeat his words. She was so upset that she faded away until only her voice was heard as an echo. Another myth states that Pan , god of the woods, pursued Echo but that she escaped him by running away. The angry Pan caused some shepherds to go mad and tear Echo apart, leaving nothing but her voice to echo through the mountains.
Echo in Context
In many cultures, myths arise as a way to explain why something exists the way it does in nature. For example, a myth might explain why the giraffe has such a long neck. It is likely that the myth of Echo originated as a way to explain the reflected sounds heard by ancient Greeks; this is supported by the fact that Echo was a mountain nymph, and mountainous areas are more likely to result in the reflected sounds we know today as echoes.
Key Themes and Symbols
One of the main themes of the myth of Echo is unrequited love, or love that is not felt and returned by the other person. In the myth, Echo loves Narcissus, even though she cannot tell him. Narcissus rejects Echo, and she simply fades away. The myth can also be seen as a warning of the dangers of talking too much; Echo is cursed by Hera after the goddess is distracted by Echo's constant chatter.
Echo in Art, Literature, and Everyday Life
Although Echo's story was widely known among the ancient Greeks, it was the subject of relatively few existing works of art and literature. Ovid's Metamorphoses is the most notable telling. The myth remained well-known through the Renaissance; William Shakespeare's classic play Romeo and Juliet includes a passage about Echo.
In modern times, the myth of Echo lives on in the term “echo,” which refers to the reflection of a sound back to a listener, usually in enclosed areas or open places with hard vertical surfaces such as cliff faces.
Read, Write, Think, Discuss
Echo wastes away after Narcissus refuses to love her as she loves him. This theme of unrequited love is popular in modern books and movies. Find an example of unrequited love in a book you have read or a movie you have seen, and describe how the theme is handled in the story you have selected.
In Greek mythology Echo was a mountain nymph who annoyed Hera, queen of the gods, by talking to her constantly. Echo's chatter distracted Hera and prevented her from discovering the love affairs of her husband, Zeus *. As punishment, Hera took away Echo's power of speech so that she could say nothing except the last words spoken by someone else.
nymph minor goddess of nature, usually represented as young and beautiful
Other myths tell of Echo's falling in love with Narcissus, the handsome son of a river god. However, Narcissus rejected Echo because she could only repeat his words. She was so upset that she faded away until only her voice was heard as an echo. Another myths states that Pan, god of the woods, pursued Echo but that she escaped him by running away. The angry Pan caused some shepherds to go mad and tear Echo apart, leaving nothing but her voice to echo through the mountains. Ovid's Metamorphoses * and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet both include passages about Echo.
See also Hera; Narcissus; Pan.
1. The reflection of transmitted data back to its source (or, as a verb, to reflect transmitted data back to its source). For example, characters typed on the keyboard of a data terminal (connected to a computer) will not appear on the display of the terminal unless they are echoed. The echoing process may be done locally by the terminal itself, by a modem, or by an intervening communication processor. Echoing may also be done by the computer to which the terminal is attached. If the terminal itself echoes the characters, it is often said to be in half-duplex mode, although the term local-echo mode would be more accurate. In full-duplex character-at-a-time transmission, echoing is generally done at the computer, thus permitting certain application programs, such as editors, to determine whether or not incoming characters should be echoed. Half-duplex and/or line-at-a-time transmission generally implies local echoing.
2. A phenomenon in voice circuits (e.g. telephone circuits) that upsets the operation of modems. Most modems therefore incorporate echo suppression.