signal

noun
sig·​nal | \ ˈsig-nᵊl How to pronounce signal (audio) \

Definition of signal

 (Entry 1 of 3)

2a : an act, event, or watchword that has been agreed on as the occasion of concerted action
b : something that incites to action
3 : something (such as a sound, gesture, or object) that conveys notice or warning
4a : an object used to transmit or convey information beyond the range of human voice
b : the sound or image conveyed in telegraphy, telephony, radio, radar, or television
c : a detectable physical quantity or impulse (such as a voltage, current, or magnetic field strength) by which messages or information can be transmitted

signal

verb
signaled or signalled; signaling or signalling\ ˈsig-​nə-​liŋ How to pronounce signalling (audio) \

Definition of signal (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to notify by a signal signal the fleet to turn back
2a : to communicate or indicate by or as if by signals signaled the end of an era
b : to constitute a characteristic feature of (a meaningful linguistic form)

intransitive verb

: to make or send a signal

signal

adjective

Definition of signal (Entry 3 of 3)

: distinguished from the ordinary : notable a signal achievement

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Other Words from signal

Verb

signaler or signaller noun

Examples of signal in a Sentence

Noun He likes her but he is sending the wrong signals with his constant teasing. The teacher gave us the signal to finish what we were working on and hand in our tests. Faulty wiring in the train station caused a signal to malfunction. Verb Robins signal the arrival of spring. The election results surely signal the start of a new era. A lock on the suitcase might signal that there's something of value inside. Did he signal before he made the left turn? They signaled at me to come over to their table. He signaled us that it was time to begin the meeting. The umpire signaled a strike. Adjective Is he worthy of such a signal honor? the Louisiana Purchase is cited by many historians as one of the most signal events in American history
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Yet some analysts read the swap as a signal not only that the two sides are talking again, but also that the Haqqani network, the most violent and radical element of the Taliban, is ready to be part of any settlement. The Economist, "Why no one can afford to call off peace talks in Afghanistan," 16 Nov. 2019 Sahota says that alone should serve as a warning signal to industry that one day, the cost to pollute will be unaffordable. Lisa Song, ProPublica, "Cap and Trade Is Supposed to Solve Climate Change, but Oil and Gas Company Emissions Are Up," 15 Nov. 2019 All this made tightening the alliance with Ukraine more important, as a signal, and as a deterrent. David E. Sanger, New York Times, "Trump’s Choice: National Security or Political Obsession," 14 Nov. 2019 Culley pointed to the 50-yard catch in Seattle, which required an instinctive reaction to Jackson’s movement, as a signal of better times ahead for the rookie from Notre Dame. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Five Things We Learned from the first (almost) half of the Ravens’ 2019 season," 25 Oct. 2019 While a lighthouse is often thought of as a signal of safety in violent waters, Eggers' beacon is a menacing omen that blinds its keepers, delectably driving them to depravity. Garrett Mitchell, azcentral, "'The Lighthouse' is a grim nautical tale starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe," 24 Oct. 2019 Autumn’s shorter days and cooler temperatures act as a signal for trees, which then stop producing chlorophyll. Emily Goodykoontz | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Portland is at peak fall foliage," 20 Oct. 2019 In a signal of how little importance Johnson attached to it, Downing Street sent a photocopy by email to the EU, and the Prime Minister didn't even sign it. Rob Picheta, CNN, "What happened with Brexit on Super Saturday, and what happens next?," 19 Oct. 2019 Plants use VOCs for many purposes, including as a homing signal for a vast web of soil fungi that provide water and nutrients to roots during drought. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "Unprecedented drought in an artificial ecosystem may reveal how rainforests will cope with climate change," 16 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The move angered vaping and conservative organizations and signaled an announcement could be imminent. Washington Post, "Trump pulls back from flavored vaping ban," 17 Nov. 2019 Queen's inflexible, argumentative nature deepens into compassionate strength, and Kaluuya's soulfulness effortlessly signals how wary Slim is beneath the easygoing surface, reflecting a lifetime of bracing for disappointment — or worse. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Queen & Slim': Film Review | AFI 2019," 15 Nov. 2019 This training comes from parents, teachers, coaches and other authority figures who signal what is acceptable. Billy Doidge Kilgore, chicagotribune.com, "The key to letting boys be boys? See them as the emotional beings they are.," 13 Nov. 2019 Later on, communication can include insults, name-calling, and teasing—all designed to signal confidence in the relationship and an increasing level of trust. Amy Irwin, Quartz at Work, "How to use rudeness in the workplace to your advantage," 6 Nov. 2019 Also Wednesday, the Federal Reserve, as widely expected, cut interest rates for the third time since July but signaled that any additional reductions were on hold. BostonGlobe.com, "The state data also can fluctuate, making it hard to define a trend from one quarter.," 31 Oct. 2019 Senders were able to see the orientation of the block and decide whether to signal the receiver to rotate it. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "Scientists Demonstrate Direct Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans," 29 Oct. 2019 The openings signal that companies are serious about hiring more staff focused on preventing discrimination,said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, "Nearly 60% of U.S. workers say they've seen workplace discrimination," 23 Oct. 2019 The blast from the powder keg-like eruptions signaled that Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez was back in town preparing for his biannual bout, looking bigger, literally, and hoping to prove better than ever. Manouk Akopyan, Los Angeles Times, "Canelo Alvarez looking to crush Sergey Kovalev, win title in fourth division," 23 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Layoffs, with their attendant blaring headlines, often signal trouble ahead. Heather Landy, Quartz at Work, "In defense of Uber laying off another 435 employees," 10 Sep. 2019 The Panthers had nearly 700 yards total offense, including Panther signal caller Austin Walker completing four of six passes for 84 yards and no INTs. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty takes advantage of Cleveland miscues for 69-13 win," 9 Sep. 2019 Plump red, yellow, and green beauties appearing on the vine signal summer’s arrival. al, "Serve a meal inspired by Alabama’s 200-year history," 20 Aug. 2019 Staff and teammates rave about Hoyer’s leadership and work as the scout team signal caller. Jim Mcbride, BostonGlobe.com, "With oodles of talent and depth, there will be plenty of interesting position battles during Patriots training camp," 22 July 2019 What people forget is that Fournette was playing behind an atrocious offensive line last season and had arguably the worst QB in the NFL as the team’s signal caller. Dr. Roto, SI.com, "Fantasy Football: 10 Bounceback Candidates For 2019," 9 Aug. 2019 With training camp in full swing, quarterback Marcus Mariota, the first Samoan Heisman Trophy winner, will be the signal caller for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. Rob Ruck, The Conversation, "I traveled to American Samoa 5 times to study the secret to its football success," 8 Aug. 2019 And signal weakness, and a willingness to let Trump get inside her head. Nr Staff, National Review, "A Series of Own Goals," 13 July 2019 Suddenly, the light WIMP scenario seems at least plausible, bolstered by Hooper’s analysis of gamma rays from the center of our Milky Way showing hints of a dark matter signal consistent with the lighter 10 GeV scenario. Jennifer Ouellette, Quanta Magazine, "In the Hunt for Dark Matter, Promises to Keep?," 18 July 2013

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1800, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adjective

1591, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for signal

Noun

Middle English, from Medieval Latin signale, from Late Latin, neuter of signalis of a sign, from Latin signum

Adjective

modification of French signalé, past participle of signaler to distinguish, from Old Italian segnalare to signal, distinguish, from segnale signal, from Medieval Latin signale

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Time Traveler for signal

Time Traveler

The first known use of signal was in the 15th century

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Statistics for signal

Last Updated

21 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Signal.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/signal. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for signal

signal

noun
How to pronounce signal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of signal

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: an event or act which shows that something exists or that gives information about something
: something (such as a sound, a movement of part of the body, or an object) that gives information about something or that tells someone to do something
: a piece of equipment with colored lights that is used on railways and roads to tell people when to go, to slow down, or to stop

signal

verb

English Language Learners Definition of signal (Entry 2 of 3)

: to be a sign of (something) : to show the existence of (something)
: to make a sound or motion that tells someone something

signal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of signal (Entry 3 of 3)

formal : very important or great

signal

noun
sig·​nal | \ ˈsig-nᵊl How to pronounce signal (audio) \

Kids Definition of signal

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a sign, event, or word that serves to start some action … the manager gave the signal for the curtain to go down, and the audience … cheered.— Richard and Florence Atwater, Mr. Popper's Penguins
2 : a sound, a movement of part of the body, or an object that gives warning or a command The police officer made a signal with his hand. a traffic signal
3 : a radio wave that transmits a message or effect (as in radio or television)

signal

verb
signaled or signalled; signaling or signalling

Kids Definition of signal (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to notify by a motion, action, movement, or sound
2 : to communicate with motions, actions, movements, or sounds

signal

adjective

Kids Definition of signal (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : unusually great a signal honor
2 : used for sending a message, warning, or command a signal light

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Comments on signal

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