1. the branch of science dealing with the sounds of speech in terms of their frequency, duration, intensity, etc., esp. as analyzed by means of instruments like the sound spectrograph and the oscillograph. Cf. articulatory phonetics. 2. a composite branch of physics and linguistics that treats sound proper as it relates to speech.
3. the branch of phonetics dealing with the transmission of sounds to the ear and the reception of them by the ear prior to neurological processing. Cf. auditory phonetics.