clar·​i·​on | \ ˈkler-ē-ən How to pronounce clarion (audio) , ˈkla-rē- \

Definition of clarion

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a medieval trumpet with clear shrill tones
2 : the sound of or as if of a clarion



Definition of clarion (Entry 2 of 2)

: brilliantly clear her clarion top notes also : loud and clear a clarion call to action

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In the Middle Ages, clarion was a noun, the name for a trumpet that could play a melody in clear, shrill tones. The noun has since been used for the sound of a trumpet or a similar sound. By the early 1800s, English speakers also started using the word as an adjective for things that ring as clear as the call of a well-played trumpet. Not surprisingly, clarion ultimately derives (via the Medieval Latin clario-) from clarus, which is the Latin word for "clear." In addition, clarus gave English speakers clarify, clarity, declare ("to make clearly known"), and clear itself.

Examples of clarion in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But Fauci’s endorsement of the universal vaccine approach could serve as a clarion call and blueprint for scientists. NBC News, 15 Dec. 2021 In addition to the seeming clarion call for growth, the communiqué also called for resolutely containing off-balance-sheet government debt and for financial discipline. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, 13 Dec. 2021 The judge denied the requests, and Gough's words became a clarion call for Black clergy across the country to converge on Brunswick in a show of spiritual solidarity. Raisa Habersham, USA TODAY, 23 Nov. 2021 Numerous colonists read the Virginia governor’s proclamation as a clarion call for a general slave rebellion, the dread fear that regularly coursed through Southern society. Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2021 This movement has already started—this is a clarion call and moment of action on every digital front. Emil Sayegh, Forbes, 9 Nov. 2021 That was the clarion call of Rosey Rowswell, legendary voice of the Pittsburgh Pirates, when a batter hit a ball likely to clear the wall for a home run. Dan Schlossberg, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 In an era when the failures and misdeeds of intelligence services around the world can shock and alarm, reading Philip’s remarks feels like a clarion call that slices straight to the bone, and hurts. Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2021 Many health officials have characterized the rising hospital census as equal parts cautionary tale and clarion call — demonstrative both of the dangers still posed by COVID-19 and the importance of getting vaccinated. San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Aug. 2021

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1801, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for clarion


Middle English, from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French clairon, from Medieval Latin clarion-, clario, from Latin clarus

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

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Dictionary Entries Near clarion



clarion call

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Last Updated

8 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Clarion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

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