alarm

noun
\ ə-ˈlärm How to pronounce alarm (audio) \
variants: or less commonly alarum \ ə-​ˈlär-​əm also  -​ˈler-​ How to pronounce alarum (audio) ; -​ˈla-​rəm \

Definition of alarm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 usually alarum, archaic : a call to arms … the angry trumpet sounds alarum— William Shakespeare
2 : a signal (such as a loud noise or flashing light) that warns or alerts also : a device that signals set the alarm to wake me at seven
3 : sudden sharp apprehension and fear resulting from the perception of imminent danger
4 : a warning notice

alarm

verb
variants: or less commonly alarum
alarmed also alarumed; alarming also alaruming; alarms also alarums

Definition of alarm (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to strike with fear
3 : to give warning to
4 : to equip with an alarm

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Choose the Right Synonym for alarm

Noun

fear, dread, fright, alarm, panic, terror, trepidation mean painful agitation in the presence or anticipation of danger. fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually loss of courage. fear of the unknown dread usually adds the idea of intense reluctance to face or meet a person or situation and suggests aversion as well as anxiety. faced the meeting with dread fright implies the shock of sudden, startling fear. fright at being awakened suddenly alarm suggests a sudden and intense awareness of immediate danger. view the situation with alarm panic implies unreasoning and overmastering fear causing hysterical activity. the news caused widespread panic terror implies the most extreme degree of fear. immobilized with terror trepidation adds to dread the implications of timidity, trembling, and hesitation. raised the subject with trepidation

Did You Know?

Today we usually think of an alarm as a loud noise that awakens us or warns us of danger. Its first use, however, was in Italy as a call to arms to soldiers. The Italian phrase all’arme! means literally “to arms” or “to your weapons.” The call was borrowed into other languages and came to be shortened to alarme in early French and Middle English. The word also came to be used as the name for the cry, then for any warning, and then to any device used to sound a warning, such as a bell or a gun. Since an alarm can cause fright or worry, such feelings also came to be known as alarm. By the 17th century, the word was used as a verb, meaning “to warn of danger” and then “to frighten.”

Examples of alarm in a Sentence

Noun

The alarm went off when he opened the door. The whole town heard the alarm. She set the alarm for six o'clock. The alarm went off at six o'clock. The rumors caused widespread alarm and concern. His parents have expressed alarm about his safety. The new developments are being viewed with alarm. She looked around in alarm when she heard the noise. The dog's barking gave the alarm and the intruders were caught. A passerby saw the intruders and raised the alarm.

Verb

I didn't mean to alarm you. The rapid spread of the disease has alarmed many people.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

President Donald Trump spoke to Hiftar by phone in April and expressed appreciation for the warlord's role in countering terrorism — a move that raised alarm in Congress. NBC News, "Airstrike hits migrant detention center in Libya, 40 killed," 3 July 2019 Lowering the device’s sensitivity merely increases the confidence and time thresholds that must be met in order to raise an alarm. Jeff Kao And Jack Gillum, ProPublica, "Methodology: How We Tested an Aggression Detection Algorithm," 25 June 2019 Record crowds at national parks and other sites have raised alarm about the potential of the public loving some its most cherished public lands to death. Judith Kohler, The Denver Post, "A new day for Colorado’s $62 billion outdoors industry as it balances promotion with conservation," 17 June 2019 Politicians have raised the alarm about the threat such fakes pose to politics. Matthew F. Ferraro For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Disinformation is harming businesses. Here are 6 ways to fight it," 10 June 2019 Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has been among those who raised an alarm about what the clinic closures could do to his jail population. Jeff Coen, chicagotribune.com, "Rahm Emanuel closed half of Chicago's mental health clinics. What was the impact — and will Lightfoot reopen them?," 6 June 2019 Another alert, published in September 2018, raised alarm about the state of health care in detention after the OIG found nooses made from bed sheets in detainees’ cells. Elaine Murphy, Teen Vogue, "What Really Happens Inside American Immigration Facilities and Detention Centers," 14 Jan. 2019 Experts have been raising the alarm for the past couple of years about how AI fakery might impact society. James Vincent, The Verge, "These faces show how far AI image generation has advanced in just four years," 17 Dec. 2018 Many indigenous communities in Alaska opposed Kavanaugh from the outset of his nomination because of his past statements questioning federal rights and protections for Hawaiian Natives, raising alarm about potential rulings affecting Alaskan tribes. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Why Alaska Natives pushed Sen. Lisa Murkowski to say no to Brett Kavanaugh," 5 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Also alarmed were the 3,000 or so folks who suit up in Yankee or Rebel uniforms for a weekend of historical cosplay. Charles Selle, chicagotribune.com, "Selle: Great divide remains over course of county’s Civil War Days," 17 June 2019 Many in the West have been alarmed by the enormous power Xi has accumulated, taking it as a harbinger of armed conflict. Kishore Mahbubani, Harper's magazine, "What China Threat?," 10 Feb. 2019 Forty-six-year resident Stacy Sipple was alarmed when trees were removed along Palmetto Park Road east of the I-95 ramps in south Boca, leaving backyards exposed to the street. Marci Shatzman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Some stunned to see exposed backyards as canal banks are cleared for storm season," 2 July 2018 Trump lashed out at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, accusing him of saying there was no reason to be alarmed about a terror attack. Jen Kirby, Vox, "A giant “Trump Baby” balloon will greet Trump in London next week," 6 July 2018 In general, this is nothing to be alarmed about, Jonathan Schaffir, M.D., an ob/gyn at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells SELF. Korin Miller, SELF, "What’s the Deal With That Brown Discharge Before and After Your Period?," 1 June 2018 Democrats were similarly alarmed by the Senate GOP’s refusal to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland. NBC News, "Inside Pete Buttigieg's plan to overhaul the Supreme Court," 3 June 2019 The organization published a lengthy blogpost on Wednesday detailing how the product works and why you should be alarmed. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Amazon Continues to Patent Facial Recognition Technologies—And Is Facing Pressure From All Sides," 13 Dec. 2018 In recent years, down-to-the wire debt-limit negotiations have raised concerns that the U.S. could default on its debt, alarming investors. Kristina Peterson, WSJ, "New White House, Congressional Spending Fights on the Horizon," 16 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alarm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alarm

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alarm

Noun

Middle English alarme, alarom, from Middle French alarme, from Old Italian all'arme, literally, to the arms

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Learn More about alarm

Dictionary Entries near alarm

Alaria

Alaric

Alaric II

alarm

alarmable

alarm bell

alarm bird

Statistics for alarm

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for alarm

The first known use of alarm was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for alarm

alarm

noun

English Language Learners Definition of alarm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a device that makes a loud sound as a warning or signal
: a feeling of fear caused by a sudden sense of danger
: a warning of danger

alarm

verb

English Language Learners Definition of alarm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause (someone) to feel a sense of danger : to worry or frighten (someone)

alarm

noun
\ ə-ˈlärm How to pronounce alarm (audio) \

Kids Definition of alarm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a warning of danger The dog's barking gave the alarm.
2 : a device (as a bell) that warns or signals people a car alarm
3 : alarm clock Set the alarm for six o'clock.
4 : the feeling of fear caused by a sudden sense of danger She was filled with alarm on hearing the crash downstairs.

alarm

verb
alarmed; alarming

Kids Definition of alarm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause to feel a sense of danger : worry or frighten Their strange behavior alarmed us.

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More from Merriam-Webster on alarm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with alarm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alarm

Spanish Central: Translation of alarm

Nglish: Translation of alarm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alarm for Arabic Speakers

Comments on alarm

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