1

alarm

noun \ ə-ˈlärm \
variants: or less commonly alarum play \ə-ˈlär-əm also -ˈler-; -ˈla-rəm\
Updated on: 11 Dec 2017

Definition of alarm

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

Examples of alarm in a Sentence

  1. The alarm went off when he opened the door.

  2. The whole town heard the alarm.

  3. She set the alarm for six o'clock.

  4. The alarm went off at six o'clock.

  5. The rumors caused widespread alarm and concern.

  6. His parents have expressed alarm about his safety.

  7. The new developments are being viewed with alarm.

  8. She looked around in alarm when she heard the noise.

  9. The dog's barking gave the alarm and the intruders were caught.

  10. A passerby saw the intruders and raised the alarm.

Recent Examples of alarm from the Web

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.

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.”

Origin and Etymology of alarm

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

Synonym Discussion of alarm

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

2

alarm

verb
variants: or less commonly alarum

Definition of alarm

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

Examples of alarm in a Sentence

  1. I didn't mean to alarm you.

  2. The rapid spread of the disease has alarmed many people.

Recent Examples of alarm from the Web

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.

First Known Use of alarm

1586



ALARM Defined for English Language Learners

alarm

noun

Definition of alarm for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of alarm for English Language Learners

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


ALARM Defined for Kids

1

alarm

noun \ ə-ˈlärm \

Definition of alarm for Students

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.

2

alarm

verb

Definition of alarm for Students

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


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