signal

noun
sig·​nal | \ˈsig-nᵊl \

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 \

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

The game and cheering seem to be going well for a moment, but then, on a signal from H, the warden calls out extra guards in riot gear who ambush the inmates. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, ""Riverdale" Recap Season 3 Episode 2: Betty and Jughead Have a New Mystery to Solve," 18 Oct. 2018 Trump has given mixed signals about his interest in the Khashoggi case. David D. Kirkpatrick, The Seattle Times, "Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance: What we know and don’t know," 15 Oct. 2018 And yet what women wear and their body language also send signals about their sexuality. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Mark Judge, the other man named in Christine Ford’s Brett Kavanaugh allegations, explained," 17 Sep. 2018 But at the end of February, the spacecraft broke off communications again, and since then, the signal from the satellite has been spotty or nonexistent. Meghan Bartels, Space.com, "Long-Lost Spacecraft That NASA Rediscovered This Year Is Incommunicado," 30 Aug. 2018 The image is actually the electrical signal from a heartbeat subjected to a mathematical process and then made visual. Marissa Fessenden, Smithsonian, "Scientific Images Make Dazzling Art In a Duke University Exhibit," 12 July 2018 Currently, thieves can capture fob signals from outside a home, office or hotel room. Phoebe Wall Howard, ajc, "Why you might want to wrap your car key fob in foil," 8 July 2018 Through machine learning, Arabesque S-Ray combines over 200 ESG metrics with news signals from over 50,000 sources across 15 languages. Erin Arvedlund, Philly.com, "We rank Philly companies on diversity, governance, & transparency. The winners may surprise you," 29 June 2018 Trump has confused his allies in the House with conflicting signals about his preferences. Author: Peter Baker, Anchorage Daily News, "Voices in both parties call for halt to practice of separating families at border," 18 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Benzodiazepines work by increasing signaling of GABA, a neurotransmitter that reduces the activity of your neurons, Dr. Alan says. Korin Miller, SELF, "5 Bipolar Disorder Treatments You Should Know About," 30 Nov. 2018 Darker red blood also starts to appear as your uterine lining shedding slows down, signaling the near-end of your period. Tina Ferraro, Teen Vogue, "Period Blood Color Guide: What Colored Blood Means For Your Health," 9 Aug. 2018 Whittle took his left hand off his gun and began signaling his command. Frances Stead Sellers, Washington Post, "Two Oklahoma citizens killed an active shooter, and it's not as simple as it sounds," 13 July 2018 Loves the game and wowed Florida State fans with a between-the-legs windmill slam while in college to help signal his knee was healthy. Dan Woike, latimes.com, "Lakers fans beware: Here comes LeBron James and his fanatical following," 4 July 2018 Discount stores like Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx have seen a spike in sales, even in the face of declining retail, signaling that shoppers crave value more than ever. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Italic sells brandless luxury goods from manufactures for Celine, Prada, and Gucci.," 15 Nov. 2018 The BepiColombo payload will be deployed about 26 minutes into flight and will signal mission control about 15 minutes after that. Meghan Bartels, Space.com, "BepiColombo, the First Mercury Mission in 14 Years, Launches Tonight — Watch Live!," 19 Oct. 2018 See also: Soccer stadium start signals new possibilities for Possibility City Mark McKeever Like O'Connor, McKeever is a former Irish international player and the two are friends. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "5 names that could make sense in Louisville City FC's coaching search," 29 June 2018 The unemployment rate is set to fall further below their goal, signaling upward pressures on wages and prices. Fortune, "U.S. Inflation Posted Its Highest Annual Growth Rate in 6 Years," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Seattle failed to sack Carolina quarterback Cam Newton last week and hit the dual-threat signal caller just once. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "How did Seahawks pass-rusher Jacob Martin prepare for his rookie season? Jiu-jitsu.," 28 Nov. 2018 Despite the signal word danger on most such labels, gardeners may instead just see vinegar and be careless. Margaret Roach, Good Housekeeping, "Why It Can Be Dangerous to Use Vinegar to Kill Weeds," 15 Aug. 2018 WikiLeaks says the country installed signal jammers to prevent him from accessing the internet in any way and have prevented him from seeing anyone but his lawyers. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "WikiLeaks has a new editor-in-chief because Julian Assange has no internet access," 27 Sep. 2018 Both coaches have established formidable past partnerships with Pac-12 signal callers: Smith with Washington’s Jake Browning and Lindgren with Colorado’s Sefo Liufau. OregonLive.com, "Oregon State Beavers spring football practice: 5 storylines to watch," 2 Apr. 2018 In another strong signal real estate discussions were a major component of the trip, city planning commissioner David Reifman attended, as did Plan Commission Chairman Martin Cabrera. Bill Ruthhart, chicagotribune.com, "Who is in Asia with Emanuel? Campaign donors, lobbyists, developers, business heavyweights," 13 July 2018 The project will include two lanes in each direction and new or extended turn lanes at intersections, a bridge replacement, signal modifications and sidewalks. Karen Huppertz, ajc, "State approves grant funding for 2 road projects in Peachtree Corners," 25 June 2018 Both halves of the duo realize this, as their respective mile-long stares signal. refinery29.com, "Is Younger Setting The Stage For A Liza-Josh Reunion?," 11 July 2018 John Shea on the AthleticsCould A’s changing times signal end to Billy Beane era? John Shea, SFChronicle.com, "A’s closer Blake Treinen sinks opposition while team soars," 5 July 2018

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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Learn More about signal

Statistics for signal

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for signal

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

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More Definitions for signal

signal

noun

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)

: very important or great

signal

noun
sig·​nal | \ˈsig-nᵊl \

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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