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 The weather service offices have also cut down their false alarm rates from pre-2011. Leigh Morgan, al, "April 27, 2011: It wasn’t Alabama’s first - or last - tornado super outbreak," 27 Apr. 2021 The Sox have already had two COVID-19 scares, one at the end of spring training that unsettled the roster for a few days before proving to be a false alarm. BostonGlobe.com, "Red Sox embracing vaccinations would keep their good run rolling," 11 Apr. 2021 Whether or not this is yet another Cesaro false alarm is anybody’s guess, but on this night, Cesaro can enjoy the biggest win of his career. Alfred Konuwa, Forbes, "WWE WrestleMania 37 Results: The 5 Biggest Pops Of Night 1," 11 Apr. 2021 Archer, the San Mateo County official, noted that the county has received only one other complaint regarding inappropriate vaccinations separate from One Medical — and that complaint turned out to be a false alarm. Susie Neilson, San Francisco Chronicle, "3 Bay Area counties halt COVID vaccine supply to One Medical, saying it let people cut the line," 24 Feb. 2021 Rapid coronavirus test results at the Maryland Senate that prompted precautionary quarantines apparently turned out to be a false alarm. Bryn Stole, baltimoresun.com, "‘We dodged a bullet’: Maryland Senate back in session after coronavirus test scare," 24 Feb. 2021 There was a false alarm when someone thought a new mattress was the wrong size. Susannah Jacob, The New Yorker, "The Secret Life of the White House," 24 Feb. 2021 Karen Kline, 50, of the 2600 block of North Windsor Drive, was charged Nov. 25 with reporting a false alarm or complaint to 911 in the 200 block of East Sigwalt Street. Kaitlin Edquist, chicagotribune.com, "Local woman charged with reporting a false complaint to 911: Arlington Heights police," 8 Dec. 2020 Right now, anything that falls looks to be mainly conversational to help get snow lovers in the holiday spirit but the European model forecast could totally be a false alarm. Washington Post, "Washington has a shot to see its first light snow event of the winter Monday," 4 Dec. 2020

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

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“False alarm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/false%20alarm. Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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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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