false alarm

noun

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

The incident marked a high-profile glitch in authorities' use of emergency alert systems, following a false alarm sent out by Hawaii officials in January warning of an incoming ballistic missile. NBC News, "Oregon official apologizes after cryptic emergency alert alarms residents," 30 May 2018 As an ominous precursor to Friday's shooting, the school had experienced a false alarm about an active shooter in February, an event that attracted a massive emergency response and the chaotic arrival of fearful parents. Anchorage Daily News, "Suspect confesses in Texas high school shooting that left 8 students, 2 teachers dead," 19 May 2018 One business had 30 or 40 false alarms in one month, Grennes said, declining to name the business. Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune, "Police announce plan to get tough on false alarms," 9 May 2018 What appears to have been a false alarm at Ace of Spades prompted the Sacramento Fire Department to evacuate the venue in the middle of a Friday night rock concert, posts and videos shared to Twitter show. Michael Mcgough, sacbee, "Apparent false alarm forces evacuation of Ace of Spades mid-concert," 10 Mar. 2018 In the state case, Barriss is charged with involuntary manslaughter, giving a false alarm and interference with a law enforcement officer. Roxana Hegemen, Cincinnati.com, "Local gamer pleads not guilty in 'swatting' death," 14 June 2018 In the state case, Barriss is charged with involuntary manslaughter, giving a false alarm and interference with a law enforcement officer. Time, "Video Gamers Plead Not Guilty in Kansas 'Swatting' Death," 13 June 2018 In the state case, Barriss is charged with involuntary manslaughter, giving a false alarm and interference with a law enforcement officer. Roxana Hegeman, chicagotribune.com, "2 gamers plead not guilty in 'swatting' case that led police to shoot Kansas man," 13 June 2018 Sedgwick County Judge Bruce Brown ruled Tuesday that there was sufficient evidence for Barriss to face local charges of involuntary manslaughter, giving a false alarm and interfering with a law enforcement officer. NBC News, "Three — including the intended victim — charged in Kansas 'swatting' death," 24 May 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

29 Sep 2018

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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

noun

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

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