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 Michael Lane Brandin of Woodville, in East Texas, was charged with false alarm or report, a class A misdemeanor, Jasper’s KJAS-TV reported. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "Texas man charged with false claim of COVID-19 diagnosis says he did so as a ‘social experiment’," 18 Mar. 2020 There were concerns because of so many previous false alarms about a potential Bob Knight return to Assembly Hall. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "What Bob Knight wondered about IU reunion: 'You think anybody will show up?'," 9 Feb. 2020 Travis McCoy, 26, was charged with felony false alarm to 911 and misdemeanor child endangerment, police announced Wednesday. Washington Post, "Parents charged after Chicago boy shot in struggle over gun," 30 Jan. 2020 Colerain Township is working on a policy and procedure to fine businesses for false alarms, but the program is not operational yet. Jennie Key, Cincinnati.com, "Make it stop: Alarm rings nightly for weeks pushing man to picket to stop the noise," 22 Nov. 2019 That should reduce the amount of false alarms from the driver assistance feature. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, "2021 Mercedes E-Class Expands Inline-Six Availability, Adds Hybrid," 3 Mar. 2020 The Red Team, which spent part of the morning creating deepfake personas, now began to overwhelm the 911 system with false alarms for fires, medical calls, and other tasks to waste first responders’ time. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "Another 2020 election simulation ends in chaos," 10 Feb. 2020 The officer on the missile launcher near the airport heard the warnings but did not hear a later message that the cruise missile alert was a false alarm. Farnaz Fassihi, BostonGlobe.com, "Anatomy of a lie: How Iran covered up the downing of an airliner," 26 Jan. 2020 In Elizabeth, New Jersey, social media reports recounted a possible shooting inside the Mills at Jersey Gardens, reports that, thankfully, turned out to be a false alarm. Tim Darnell, ajc, "Mall shootings plague US days before Christmas," 23 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for false alarm

Time Traveler

The first known use of false alarm was in 1578

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Statistics for false alarm

Last Updated

11 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“False alarm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/false%20alarm. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with false alarm

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