alarm

noun
\ ə-ˈlärm \
variants: or less commonly alarum \ ə-​ˈlär-​əm also  -​ˈler-​ ; -​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

Their need of food packed with calories only heightens the alarm, as a study published in Science last year noted the animals burn roughly calories 12,325 a day. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "'Mass Invasion' of Polar Bears Descends on Remote Russian Village in Search of Food," 11 Feb. 2019 The service runs from a fully-equipped truck, offering food, condoms, blankets, safety alarms, and a safe place to talk. Omid Scobie, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Duchess Meghan Shared Touching Messages with Vulnerable Women During Bristol Visit," 1 Feb. 2019 Mccan suggests placing water alarms, which detect leaks and moisture, in areas of your home that are at risk of water damage. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "How To Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing In This Ridiculously Cold Weather," 24 Jan. 2019 Just days after her Reputation stadium tour landed on Netflix, fans sounded the Easter egg alarm on Twitter. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Taylor Swift Fans Are Convinced That Her New Music Will Be About Mermaids," 3 Jan. 2019 But in this more recent case the Earth didn’t move enough to set those alarms in motion. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "Deadly Indonesian tsunami was not caused by an earthquake," 23 Dec. 2018 Sponheimer noted that none of the alarms at the gas station built to warn about leaks had activated before the explosion. Vinny Vella, Philly.com, "Fire marshal: Fatal Bensalem blast was accidentally triggered by shop-vac," 14 June 2018 Although the system certainly raises alarms — Human Rights Watch is concerned about it, after all — the idea that the US credit system operates much more equitably is shortsighted. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Spend “frivolously” and be penalized under China’s new social credit system," 2 Nov. 2018 The premiere presents two dentists who raised alarms about a pediatric dental chain. Hal Boedeker, OrlandoSentinel.com, "'Jonestown: An American Tragedy,' Sacha Baron Cohen: This weekend," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Meanwhile, so as not to alarm the regulars, front-of-house changes have been stealthier. Rico Gagliano, WSJ, "This Iconic Hollywood Restaurant Lets You Travel Back in Time," 13 Feb. 2019 In other words, President Trump will text you (and every other US citizen) this afternoon — but there’s no need to be alarmed. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Trump will text you at 2:18PM ET today as part of FEMA’s Presidential Alert test," 3 Oct. 2018 Clots aren't anything to be alarmed about either: Most people who get periods get them. Elizabeth Kiefer, Teen Vogue, "What Is A Period? 10 Things To Know About Your Menstrual Cycle," 6 Sep. 2018 That's likely to alarm advocates of stricter immigration limits, like the Center for Immigration Studies, which has already expressed concern the USDA is too beholden to the agricultural industry on issues like immigration. Emily Cadei, sacbee, "Trump administration pushes changes to farmworker visa," 15 June 2018 The pragmatist in all of us should realize that there’s no reason to be truly alarmed until Brady stops missing mandatory time—and even then, there’s precedent. Conor Orr, SI.com, "So What If Tom Brady Skips Patriots' OTAs?," 21 May 2018 The outcome of Lebanon’s first parliamentary elections in nine years shored up Hezbollah’s position in a way that is likely to alarm the United States, Israel and Gulf Arab nations like Saudi Arabia. Ben Hubbard, BostonGlobe.com, "Elections in Lebanon boost Hezbollah’s clout," 7 May 2018 The prospect of more such agreements is likely to alarm American policy makers, who worry about losing ground to Russia and China in the Middle East. Bloomberg.com, "Trump to Host Saudi Crown Prince at White House on March 20," 12 Mar. 2018 Georgiou and Section 31 are alarmed by the appearance of several red bursts, which typically signal the arrival of the red angel. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Spock smiles in the face of danger in new trailer for Star Trek: Discovery S2," 13 Dec. 2018

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

16 Feb 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 \

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

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