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 signal (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 One bad signal is the choice of John Kerry as special envoy for climate. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Beijing Tests Joe Biden," 18 Dec. 2020 The latest signal is also likely to have a natural explanation, but scientists are preparing a paper on the beam to support Breakthrough Listen, which is searching for evidence of life in space. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Astronomers investigating whether radio beam from neighboring star is proof of alien life," 18 Dec. 2020 Remember, the universal signal for distress is three: three rifle shots, three whistle blasts, three fires. Keith Mccafferty, Field & Stream, "How to Survive for Three Days in the Wilderness," 4 Dec. 2020 If the signal were always present and the searcher always detected it, then indiscriminate mating would be nonexistent. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, "When Same-Sex Mating Makes Reproductive Sense," 3 Dec. 2020 The signal from the magnetar is the most energetic radio blast ever recorded within our galaxy. National Geographic, "Mysterious radio signal spotted in Milky Way for first time," 4 Nov. 2020 Even in the capital, the signal from the public station is spotty and often flicks out. Lucien O. Chauvin, Washington Post, "Remote learning is deepening the divide between rich and poor," 16 Oct. 2020 Perhaps the best signal from the injury report Saturday was the lack of a designation for All-Pro right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, who left midway through last week's game with a concussion, but appears to be good to go against Los Angeles. Luke Johnson, NOLA.com, "Injury report: 3 Saints ruled out, 6 are questionable for Monday night against Chargers," 10 Oct. 2020 G Home falls back to 4G LTE when a millimeter-wave signal is not available. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Buying Verizon 5G Home is even harder than finding a Verizon mobile 5G signal," 6 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That seemed to signal there’d be labor peace at least through 2025-26. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "When might we see the Detroit Red Wings play again? Why that Jan. 1 start date is in doubt," 3 Dec. 2020 Hurley walked off, shaking hands and high-fiving the fans closest to his baseline path to the locker room after a win over Houston that seemed to signal the program was ready to return to the national stage. Dom Amore, courant.com, "Ready or not, a long-anticipated UConn men’s season will start against Central Connecticut," 24 Nov. 2020 There is hope in Turkey and elsewhere that the departures of Mr Albayrak and Mr Uysal may signal a return to more orthodox financial and monetary policy, which could shield the lira from further pressure and the fallout from the American elections. The Economist, "Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s finance minister—and son-in-law—quits," 9 Nov. 2020 This seemed to signal a new diplomatic approach to Lebanon's crisis. Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "The approach of the US elections helps push Lebanon and Iraq to the brink," 4 Oct. 2020 However, the death on Sept. 18 of Justice Ginsburg — which began the contentious fight over confirming her replacement in an election year — seemed to effectively signal the end of those efforts, which had already stalled. Matt Phillips, New York Times, "As the Election Looms, Investors See Uncertainty. They Don’t Like It.," 30 Sep. 2020 And that in that justice America would signal that their lives and the lives of other Black women have value. Star Tribune, "In Breonna Taylor's name: Devastation and a search for hope," 26 Sep. 2020 The political advantage, beyond reassuring the Democratic left, is that tax increases on high-income earners and corporations would signal that Biden is serious about the deficit and long-term budget arithmetic. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Joe Biden’s Great Reclamation Project," 17 Aug. 2020 Outbreak specialists worry that the spread of new viruses from patients to health workers can signal the virus is becoming adapted to human transmission. Ken Moritsugu, The Denver Post, "U.N. agency declares global emergency over virus from China," 30 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The signal caller took a violent hit on a third-and-13 scramble for 11 yards in the second quarter. Chris Dabe, NOLA.com, "Ohio State routs Clemson in Sugar Bowl, will face Alabama for national title," 1 Jan. 2021 And this may be the most frightening thing in the novel, more so than any phone without signal or dead laptop. Alexander Chee, The New Republic, "Life in the Post-Internet Dystopia," 29 Dec. 2020 There were no flares to be found, no available fuel for a fire for signal smoke. Cassidy Randall, Time, "How One Man Survived a Plane Crash and 5 Days in the Snowy Canadian Wilderness—and Went On to Help Shape the Modern Ski Industry," 27 Dec. 2020 The front fog lights also come on automatically based on steering or turn-signal use when the vehicle is traveling at low speeds. Roberto Baldwin, Car and Driver, "Polestar 2 Gets Pixel LED Lights, but They're Not Coming to U.S.," 21 Dec. 2020 Arnold says that some of the features, like adaptive noise canceling and dynamic sound shifting, signal to him that Apple is serious about making headphones that support its content offerings. Lauren Goode, Wired, "Apple’s ‘One More Thing’ for 2020: A $549 Pair of Headphones," 8 Dec. 2020 Tua Tagovailoa, as touted as any signal caller coming out of college in years, will make his second start for Miami. Barry Wilner, Star Tribune, "Tua vs Kyler as rising Dolphins visit revitalized Cardinals," 7 Nov. 2020 Those conversant with both realms enjoy a signal advantage. Bryan A. Garner, National Review, "How the Internet Has Revolutionized Research in the Humanities," 17 Dec. 2020 Pheasey identified low signal reception in coastal areas as another possible limitation, but Otterstrom doesn't see this as a major problem. Nell Lewis, CNN, "Fake 'decoy' eggs are being used to track turtle poaching," 15 Dec. 2020

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

30 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Signal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/signal. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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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