false alarm


Definition of false alarm

1 : an alarm (such as a fire or burglar alarm) that is set off needlessly
2 : something causing alarm or excitement that proves to be unfounded

Examples of false alarm in a Sentence

A false alarm drew firefighters to the school. The report that the factory would be closing was a false alarm. He thought he might be having a heart attack, but his chest pains were just a false alarm.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But a variety of analysis methods suggested that there was an additional signal at 233 days, with a false alarm probability of only one in 1015. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Sun’s closest solo star may have company," 14 Nov. 2018 As of June, outstanding utility bills total $107,500; parking ticket scofflaws have run up a tab of $78,500; code compliance fines total $6,450; and another $1,000 is owed the city for false alarm fees, city officials said. Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, "Owe a parking ticket or municipal utility bill in Geneva? You may get a break under a new amnesty program.," 13 June 2018 Businesses that continue to have false alarm calls could face fines starting at $130 with their third call, said Dedrick Stevens, commissioner for the Division of Assessments and Licenses. Staff, cleveland.com, "Comment here on cleveland.com court and crime stories for Monday, April 9, 2018," 9 Apr. 2018 But there have been several other locations of concern and false alarms about dam failures that have caused panic. Sarah Rankin, The Seattle Times, "Floodwaters of Florence put North Carolina dams under stress," 17 Sep. 2018 For that, police tacked on two more charges: criminal mischief and false alarm. Matthew Martinez, star-telegram, "She was drunk at her kid's school play, kicked a cop then flooded the jail, Texas police say | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 15 May 2018 So far, the system has adapted to power failures, including one triggered by a smoke alarm on the station (a false alarm), and another one that happened when an astronaut accidentally kneed the system’s emergency power shutoff. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "A supercomputer on the ISS will soon be open for science experiments," 1 Nov. 2018 The group’s count includes many incidents that turn out to be false alarms or hoaxes. Julie Bosman, New York Times, "After Parkland, a Flood of New Threats, Tips and False Alarms," 25 Feb. 2018 Petrov believed the incident to be a false alarm, and stood by his call. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "What 'Hunter Killer' Gets Right About Submarine Warfare," 7 Nov. 2018

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

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for false alarm

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for false alarm

The first known use of false alarm was in 1578

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More Definitions for false alarm

false alarm


English Language Learners Definition of false alarm

: an alarm (such as a fire alarm) that is set off when it is not needed
: something that causes people to wrongly believe that something bad or dangerous is going to happen

More from Merriam-Webster on false alarm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with false alarm

Comments on false alarm

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


an enemy or opponent

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