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

Of course, in my youth, the glow of the gas lamps was also a signal: The youngest of my siblings would have to go to bed, and within an hour the canvas awning would be raised up on ropes and lashed down for the night. Jacques Kelly, baltimoresun.com, "Remembering Baltimore's magical glow from gaslights on a summer night," 14 July 2018 While Norway, the largest oil producer in Europe, has not yet decided on whether to divest, the very suggestion is a signal of waning confidence in the future of the petroleum business by one of its major players. Somini Sengupta, New York Times, "Ireland Moves to Divest From Fossil Fuels," 12 July 2018 The #saveSCOTUS rally, Croucher said, will be a powerful signal to Connecticut Sens. Alison Kuznitz, courant.com, "Abortion, Women's Rights Activists Rally In New Haven Against Supreme Court Nominee," 10 July 2018 The 31-year-old was originally pulled over by police in his Maserati late Thursday night for reportedly failing to signal during a lane change and operating a vehicle without license plates. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "Mozzy Arrested for Gun Possession in Las Vegas: Report," 9 July 2018 Shale producers, who cannot respond to price signals anything like quickly enough to please Mr Trump, are sidelined. The Economist, "The American president is stirring up trouble in a volatile oil market," 4 July 2018 What was a response to an environmental signal in the single cell ancestor has been co-opted for promoting division of labor in its more complex descendent, Kerr says. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "The momentous transition to multicellular life may not have been so hard after all," 28 June 2018 The technique relies on a device that maintains a perfectly stable frequency of laser oscillations so that any changes to the signal are obvious. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Seafloor fiber optic cables can work like seismometers," 15 June 2018 The immediate response of the state to protests signals that a change to the political economy of the existing social contract between state and society could be on the horizon. Allison Spencer Hartnett, Washington Post, "Can Jordan’s new prime minister reform the government?," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Image Twitter will begin removing tens of millions of suspicious accounts from users’ followers on Thursday, signaling a major new effort to restore trust on the popular but embattled platform. Nicholas Confessore, New York Times, "Battling Fake Accounts, Twitter to Slash Millions of Followers," 11 July 2018 Methodological variations indicate further study is needed to fully understand the roles of these signaling pathways in people. Leslie Henderson, Scientific American, "Why Our Brains See the World as "Us" versus "Them"," 22 June 2018 Spring 2004 In her first design with Nike, Serena sported a white and silver silk dress that immediately signaled a shift from her colorful style at Puma. Chris Chase, For The Win, "Serena Williams' fashion history, from catsuits to game-changing ballgowns," 31 May 2018 The bathing girls will parade around the interior promenade of the natatorium, this procession signaling the inauguration of the night’s festivities. sandiegouniontribune.com, "May 29, 1925: Belmont Park dedicated," 29 May 2018 In December, the Tribune reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had ordered General Iron to conduct detailed air pollution testing, a step that signaled a potential third federal crackdown on the business since the 1990s. Ryan Ori, chicagotribune.com, "General Iron to sell North Side land site, move out in 2020," 13 July 2018 There are some question marks for conservatives, particularly an ObamaCare ruling that signaled his implicit support of the law. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to Supreme Court," 9 July 2018 Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has appointed Nina Hickson to the city attorney position on Thursday, a move that further signals a shift in how City Hall handles public records requests. Stephen Deere, ajc, "New Atlanta city attorney Nina Hickson refused to withhold records," 5 July 2018 Sheila Munyiva, actor and filmmaker As Rafiki’s enigmatic co-star, Munyiva has the kind of rare beauty and talent that signal big things are to come. Mosha Lundström Halbert, Vogue, "The Kenyan Cool Girl’s Guide to Nairobi," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Scorpion plays as a series of parables about the wickedness of modern life and its signal sins of greed, vanity, and pride. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Why Drake Can’t Pull Off Being the ‘Good Guy’," 5 July 2018 The scents are interesting and always signal life rather than perfume. Kelly Conaboy, The Cut, "The Perfect Candle for Lovers of Stickers and Romance," 22 June 2018 Officials say at least $30 million is needed to overhaul signal connections and other technological aspects of the system covering the downtown core. Kevin Rector, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore officials blame 'antiquated' signal system for traffic congestion," 30 Apr. 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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Statistics for signal

Last Updated

10 Oct 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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