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 Those signals have also spurred more criticism of the Fed from President Donald Trump, who in a break from historical precedent has badgered Mr. Powell to cut rates more steeply. CBS News, "Federal Reserve expected to cut interest rates on Wednesday," 17 Sep. 2019 An iPhone in the same room picked up the spoofed GPS signals and erroneously showed itself driving down a nearby highway. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "Preventing GPS spoofing is hard—but you can at least detect it," 12 Sep. 2019 Scientists used those signals to project where magma might erupt, and planners evacuated residents in that area. Shannon Hall, New York Times, "We’re Barely Listening to the U.S.’s Most Dangerous Volcanoes," 9 Sep. 2019 Weddle, 34, is calling defensive signals and also actively directing teammates before snaps. Los Angeles Times, "Rams preparing for the ‘looking good, feeling good’ version of Cam Newton," 2 Sep. 2019 The Roxor lacks safety equipment street legal vehicles require — turns signals and air bags, to name just two. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Jeep-like ATV looks like a toy — but Mahindra means business," 31 Aug. 2019 Many experts have found that helping with homework cultivates positive learning behaviors, reinforces class material and signals to children that their education is important. Daniel Hamlin, The Conversation, "Should parents help their kids with homework?," 29 Aug. 2019 The watch syncs up with those signals up to six times per day. Dallas News, "Casio Pro Trek watch is tough and feature-packed," 8 Aug. 2019 The Super 64 takes the N64’s 240p or 480i S-Video signal and uses hardware to upscale it to 480p while tuning the colors and brightness. Sam Byford, The Verge, "This expensive adapter makes the Nintendo 64 look good on modern TVs," 7 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Every so often, snapping sounds and deep rumbles echoed up out of the frozen abyss, signaling that a chunk of ice was breaking off, or calving, from the glacier. Denise Chow, NBC News, "My night stranded on the edge of Greenland's fast-melting Helheim Glacier," 17 Sep. 2019 Experts told Politico that the interviews could be interpreted as promoting Chao's father's book or signaling the Chaos' valuable U.S. connections in China. Hannah Knowles, Anchorage Daily News, "Transportation secretary faces investigation over ethics allegations," 17 Sep. 2019 But their publicist is signaling; there’s a lot more to get to today. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Tegan and Sara: The High School Years," 17 Sep. 2019 Real estate insiders say this trend does not signal any end to residential construction in greater downtown, but rather the superior outlook right now for new hotel projects. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit developers ditching condo plans to build more hotel rooms," 16 Sep. 2019 This was more of a signalling mechanism than a game-changer. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, "The Fight for the Latino Vote in Florida," 16 Sep. 2019 Some international regulators are likely to take longer, however, signaling a rift in the global aviation community. David Gelles, New York Times, "Boeing Board to Call for Safety Changes After 737 Max Crashes," 15 Sep. 2019 The levels of particulate matter in the air can change dramatically within hours, signaling a rise in mold growth or outside winds pushing pollutants into open windows. Jennifer Jolly, USA TODAY, "Air pollution inside my house could kill me. What are you breathing in at your home?," 15 Sep. 2019 The disease causes certain immune signaling molecules, called cytokines, to go into overdrive. Ryan Prior, CNN, "This med student was given last rites before finding a treatment that saved his life. His method could help millions," 14 Sep. 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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Statistics for signal

Last Updated

24 Oct 2019

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
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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not being in agreement or harmony

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