beacon

noun
bea·con | \ ˈbē-kən \

Definition of beacon 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a signal fire commonly on a hill, tower, or pole

2a : a lighthouse or other signal for guidance

b : a radio transmitter emitting signals to guide aircraft

3 : a source of light or inspiration … the beacon to the oppressed of all countries … —Adrienne Koch

beacon

verb
beaconed; beaconing; beacons

Definition of beacon (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to shine as a beacon … Adventure beaconed from far off, and his heart leapt to greet the light. —Maurice Hewlett

transitive verb

: to furnish with a signal or a source of light or inspiration : to furnish with a beacon

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for beacon

Synonyms: Noun

illuminant, lamp, light

Synonyms: Verb

bathe, emblaze, illume, illuminate, illumine, irradiate, light, lighten

Antonyms: Verb

blacken, darken, obfuscate

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of beacon in a Sentence

Noun

These countries are beacons of democracy. Our nation should be a beacon of peace to people around the world.

Verb

a lone lighthouse beacons the entrance to the island's only harbor
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That dream once radiated outward, a beacon for people from less open-minded places. Mikael Wood, kansascity, "KCK’s Janelle Monae and other pop artists shape the new sound of protest music," 6 July 2018 Handlers use trained dogs as an early warning and homing beacons to track the whereabouts of their rhinos daily. Lindsey Bever, latimes.com, "Poachers were looking for rhinos. They found hungry lions instead, game reserve says," 6 July 2018 Handlers use trained dogs as an early warning and honing beacons to track the whereabouts of their rhinos daily. Deanna Paul, Washington Post, "Suspected poachers were looking for rhinos. They found hungry lions instead, game reserve owner says.," 5 July 2018 But the Rplate does more than simply emit a homing beacon. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Would you pay $700, plus a monthly fee, for a digital license plate?," 2 July 2018 With the walk signal, pedestrians can activate a flashing beacon by pushing a button by a traffic signal that causes a light to flash repetitively on signs located within parkways near the road. Todd Shields, chicagotribune.com, "Public invited to share thoughts on safety upgrades at Ela, Long Grove roads near Barrington," 19 June 2018 Onboard ultrasound beacons and docking systems are designed to enable the vessels line up precisely and lock together as needed. Tom Metcalfe /, NBC News, "How self-driving 'roboats' could swarm to simplify city life," 8 June 2018 Was Darth Vader the first person to plant a homing beacon on the Falcon? Dan Gvozden, The Hollywood Reporter, "74 'Star Wars' Questions 'Solo' Insisted on Answering," 1 June 2018 Use this workout tonight to clear your head and strengthen your body for your busy day tomorrow.’ Thank you for always being an inspiration and beacon of light for body positivity. Julie Mazziotta, PEOPLE.com, "Younger's Nico Tortorella Reveals Battle with Body Dysmorphia and Weight Loss: 'I Am an Addict'," 17 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of beacon

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1650, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for beacon

Noun

Middle English beken, from Old English bēacen sign; akin to Old High German bouhhan sign

Verb

verbal derivative of beacon entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about beacon

Phrases Related to beacon

beacon of hope

Statistics for beacon

Last Updated

28 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for beacon

The first known use of beacon was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for beacon

beacon

noun

English Language Learners Definition of beacon

: a strong light that can be seen from far away and that is used to help guide ships, airplanes, etc.

: a radio signal that is broadcast to help guide ships, airplanes, etc.

: someone or something (such as a country) that guides or gives hope to others

beacon

noun
bea·con | \ ˈbē-kən \

Kids Definition of beacon

1 : a guiding or warning light or fire on a high place

2 : a radio station that sends out signals to guide aircraft

3 : someone or something that guides or gives hope to others These countries are beacons of democracy.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on beacon

What made you want to look up beacon? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an open space surrounded by woods

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!