alert

adjective
\ ə-ˈlərt How to pronounce alert (audio) \

Definition of alert

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : watchful and prompt to meet danger or emergency an alert guard trying to stay alert to possible problems
b : quick to perceive and act mentally alert
2 : active, brisk elicited an alert response

alert

noun

Definition of alert (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : a state of careful watching and readiness especially for danger or opportunity on 24-hour alert
2a : an alarm or other signal of danger traffic alerts They sounded the alert.
b : an urgent notice … an alert to parents … about new immunization requirements.— Ann Schrader
3 : the period during which an alert is in effect
on the alert
: looking for or expecting something (such as danger or an opportunity) Drivers need to be on the alert for icy condition. always on the alert for a good bargain

alert

verb
alerted; alerting; alerts

Definition of alert (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to call (someone) to a state of readiness : warn alerted the school board of a possible teachers' strike alert the authorities
2 : to make (someone) aware of something alerted the public to the dangers of pesticides

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Other Words from alert

Adjective

alertly adverb
alertness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for alert

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for alert

Adjective

watchful, vigilant, wide-awake, alert mean being on the lookout especially for danger or opportunity. watchful is the least explicit term. the watchful eye of the department supervisor vigilant suggests intense, unremitting, wary watchfulness. eternally vigilant in the safeguarding of democracy wide-awake applies to watchfulness for opportunities and developments more often than dangers. wide-awake companies latched onto the new technology alert stresses readiness or promptness in meeting danger or in seizing opportunity. alert traders anticipated the stock market's slide

intelligent, clever, alert, quick-witted mean mentally keen or quick. intelligent stresses success in coping with new situations and solving problems. an intelligent person could assemble it fast clever implies native ability or aptness and sometimes suggests a lack of more substantial qualities. clever with words alert stresses quickness in perceiving and understanding. alert to new technology quick-witted implies promptness in finding answers in debate or in devising expedients in moments of danger or challenge. no match for his quick-witted opponent

Examples of alert in a Sentence

Adjective An alert guard stopped the robbers. He was tired and had trouble staying alert while he was driving. She wasn't mentally alert enough to answer the questions. An alert watchdog guarded the door. Noun They sounded an alert when enemy planes were approaching the city. Medical officials have put out an alert to hospitals to look out for the virus. The government has issued a terrorism alert. Verb Several neighbors alerted the authorities when they noticed strangers acting suspiciously. The governor alerted island residents that a hurricane was coming. The teacher alerted the students that tests would be given the next day.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Since many victims live with their abusers, the alert countdown could be reset each night when the owner of the AirTag comes back into its range. Washington Post, "Apple’s AirTag trackers made it frighteningly easy to ‘stalk’ me in a test," 6 May 2021 All personnel on duty have a cellphone that generates an alert tone, call information and mapping. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chula Vista unveils second, new fire station in a month," 3 May 2021 Baldwin denied that the jet was placed on an alert status for that purpose, and a Newsom spokeswoman said the governor would never authorize such a mission. Los Angeles Times, "Today’s Headlines: Turmoil atop the California National Guard," 3 May 2021 Proponents say these minor stops are an effective tool that alert police to more serious crimes. Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, "Lawmakers take closer look at law banning air fresheners," 26 Apr. 2021 Before too long, air-conditioning systems kept the white-collar armies comfortable and alert in every season, and office work was broken down into tiny tasks that could be executed at high speed, day in, day out. Justin Davidson, Curbed, "New York City Made the Office," 26 Apr. 2021 The Defense Department and First Air Force were not involved in any decision to place the F-15C on an alert status for civilian disturbances, military spokespersons said. Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times, "California Guard members feared fighter jet would be ordered to frighten protesters," 23 Apr. 2021 On a scrubby plateau in the middle ground, a kindly donkey pauses near the edge of a chalky precipice over which stands an alert heron. William E. Wallace, WSJ, "Creatures Great and Small," 23 Apr. 2021 According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least five states allow for certain medical conditions or disorders to be noted on identification, license plates or vehicle registration to alert law enforcement and first responders. Lauren Castle, The Arizona Republic, "What are your rights when you get pulled over in a traffic stop?," 17 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The cat suffered multiple BB gunshot wounds on its face and body, the alert said. BostonGlobe.com, "Cambridge police seeks the public’s help after cat found bound and shot to death," 8 May 2021 The alert sounded 22 seconds earlier in the Sacramento region, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which is helping implement the ShakeAlert system. Kevin Fagan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Locals take Truckee quake in stride, and learn a lesson about a smartphone app," 7 May 2021 The app instructs you how to temporarily silence the alert or disable the AirTag by removing its battery. Washington Post, "Apple’s AirTag trackers made it frighteningly easy to ‘stalk’ me in a test," 6 May 2021 State health officials made the decision to send out the alert in consultation with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Shari Rudavsky, The Indianapolis Star, "Why State health officials sent that alert encouraging walk-in vaccine appointments," 27 Apr. 2021 Investors will be on alert for any change in tone and outlook from the Fed following a spate of strong U.S. economic data. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, "Nasdaq Composite Sets First Record Since February," 26 Apr. 2021 Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment on the alert. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Researchers say changing simple iPhone setting fixes long-standing privacy bug," 25 Apr. 2021 Sophia Armen spent Friday night refreshing Twitter and Google, waiting to see when the alert would pop up announcing that President Biden had officially recognized the Armenian genocide. Los Angeles Times, "Armenian American activists welcome U.S. recognition of genocide but say fight isn’t over," 24 Apr. 2021 Spoiler alert: Don't eat eight-year-old snack cakes. Nicole Hvidsten, Star Tribune, "It's National Twinkies Day: Go ahead and treat yourself," 6 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The sheriff's deputy that encountered the tiger made a call to the Houston Police Department during the incident to alert them, but by the time police arrived, witnesses said the tiger had been taken away, said the Houston Police Department. NBC News, "Tiger caught on video roaming around Houston neighborhood," 10 May 2021 The AirTag also lets users play a sound to alert them to its presence. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, "Airtags from Apple: Do they actually make life easier?," 6 May 2021 The mother learned her son had fallen from the bedroom's window when a neighbor knocked on her door to alert her, the statement read. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "3-Year-Old Boy Survives Five-Story Fall From New York City Window: ‘A Miracle'," 5 May 2021 Or what if your pants could notice that your stride has changed and alert you at the onset of injuries? Washington Post, "Did you get enough steps in today? Maybe one day you’ll ask your ‘smart’ shirt.," 3 May 2021 Defensive briefings are given to people to alert them that they are being targeted by foreign governments for malign purposes, former officials said. BostonGlobe.com, "Giuliani got warning on Russia from the FBI in 2019," 30 Apr. 2021 Defensive briefings are given to people to alert them that they are being targeted by foreign governments for malign purposes, former officials said. Anchorage Daily News, "FBI told Giuliani and key Trump ally in Senate of Russian disinformation campaign," 30 Apr. 2021 Similar devices are available to alert you if someone is knocking on the door. Max Collins, Forbes, "Academics, Athletics And Accommodations: Finding Your Right Fit," 19 Apr. 2021 No one ever tried to find the embryos, or thought to alert us when they were found years later, Dr. Prizant asked? New York Times, "The Lost Embryos," 16 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alert.' 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 alert

Adjective

1618, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1868, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alert

Adjective

borrowed from French alerte, going back to Middle French a l'herte "on guard, on the watch," borrowed from Italian all'erta, originally in the collocation stare all'erta "to be on the watch," literally, "to be on the height" (with erta "height, hill, steep ascent," noun derivative from feminine of erto, past participle of ergere "to raise, elevate," going back to Vulgar Latin *ērgere, by syncope from Latin ērigere) — more at erect entry 1

Note: The earliest citation for the word in the Oxford English Dictionary suggests direct borrowing from Italian, or at least recognition of an Italian source: "In this place the Prince [of Orange] finding his rutters [cavalry soldiers] alert, (as the Italians say) with aduise of his valiant brother, hee sent his Trumpets to D. d' Alua…." (Sir Roger Williams, The Actions of the Lowe Countries, London, 1618, p. 27).

Noun

noun derivative of alert entry 1 (or borrowed from French alerte, derivative of alerte, adjective)

Verb

verbal derivative of alert entry 1 or alert entry 2

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Statistics for alert

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alert.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alert. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for alert

alert

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of alert

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: able to think clearly and to notice things

alert

noun

English Language Learners Definition of alert (Entry 2 of 3)

: something (such as a message or loud sound) that tells people there is some danger or problem : an alarm or signal of danger
: the state of being ready for something you have been warned about (such as an attack)

alert

verb

English Language Learners Definition of alert (Entry 3 of 3)

: to give (someone) important information about a possible problem, danger, etc. : to warn (someone)
: to make (someone) aware of something

alert

adjective
\ ə-ˈlərt How to pronounce alert (audio) \

Kids Definition of alert

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : watchful and ready especially to meet danger But he was alert at night, too, on the road, always listening intently …— Lois Lowry, The Giver
2 : quick to understand and act An alert reader noticed the error in grammar.

Other Words from alert

alertly adverb The prairie dog sat alertly beside the opening of its burrow.

alert

noun

Kids Definition of alert (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : an alarm or signal of danger The police issued an alert.
2 : the period during which an alert is in effect We stayed indoors during the alert.
on the alert
: watchful against danger … the remark had set us all on the alert, straining ears and eyes …— Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island

alert

verb
alerted; alerting

Kids Definition of alert (Entry 3 of 3)

: to make aware of a need to get ready or take action : warn The siren alerted us that a tornado was approaching.

More from Merriam-Webster on alert

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for alert

Nglish: Translation of alert for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of alert for Arabic Speakers

Comments on alert

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