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clar·​i·​on ˈkler-ē-ən How to pronounce clarion (audio)
: a medieval trumpet with clear shrill tones
: the sound of or as if of a clarion


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

Did you know?

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
Abeysekera — a petite hurricane of an actor with reeling limbs and a clarion voice — is excellent in an exhausting role. Alexis Soloski, New York Times, 30 Mar. 2023 The vocal discovery of the night was the young Swedish soprano Åsa Jäger, who sang Brünnhilde with clarion tone, crisp diction, and infectious zest. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 13 June 2022 The declamations at the opening of the polonaise were a perfect opportunity to highlight the clarion strength and precision of the brass. Lukas Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Aug. 2022 Tenor Stefan Vinke sang with clarion strength and tonal focus, yet vocally speaking, the night belonged to Dame Sarah Connolly. Jeremy Eichler,, 17 Apr. 2023 Beck moves from echo-heavy rockabilly licks (the sounds of his youth) to fluid, clarion squalls of sound. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 11 Jan. 2023 No one has ever called me a clarion of information. IEEE Spectrum, 26 Oct. 2021 Behavioral scientists and public health specialists who study vaccine acceptance say the FDA approval is a clarion signal that the shots are safe and effective. Compiled Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 24 Aug. 2021 As the MeToo movement swept America, Mr. Cuomo emerged as a clarion voice on the side of victims. New York Times, 11 Aug. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'clarion.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1801, in the meaning defined above

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


Dictionary Entries Near clarion

Cite this Entry

“Clarion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: brilliantly clear
a clarion call to action

More from Merriam-Webster on clarion

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