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 two votes represented a major break in the solid GOP backing Trump has enjoyed in his first two years as president and sent a strong signal that congressional Republicans are willing to split with the White House on national security matters. Martin Crutsinger, The Seattle Times, "Treasury lifts sanctions against 3 Russian companies," 28 Jan. 2019 The connections necessary in the brain to transmit signals of pain do not develop until 24 weeks. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Anti-Abortion Activists Are Still Defending Forced Birth with Debunked Science," 26 Jan. 2019 Photo: andy rain/Shutterstock Walmart Inc. is sending a new warning signal to the U.S. trucking industry. Paul Page, WSJ, "Today’s Logistics Report: Packaging for Refills; Airbus May Take Wing; Walmart’s Driving Trucks," 25 Jan. 2019 Using new tech tools to keep its fleet flying would send an opposite signal to civilian and uniformed maintainers who are working on vintage aircraft. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Can Big Data Save Old Warplanes?," 23 Jan. 2019 However, the climate signal is weaker in chaparral landscapes, like those around Los Angeles. Umair Irfan, Vox, "What we learned from the disasters that hammered the US in 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 At this altitude, the cell phone signal is about as thin as the air to begin with. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "Can the New Hermès Apple Watch Actually Help You Unplug?," 19 Nov. 2018 Since no other detectors have reported such events, many scientists dismiss the signals as unexplained instrument errors or background noise. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Hunt for A Seeming Paradox: A Magnet With Only One Pole," 13 Nov. 2018 The hand signal was seen in the background of MSNBC’s live interview with Sector Charleston Commanding Officer Capt. Lukas Mikelionis, Fox News, "US Coast Guard member 'removed' after making 'offensive' OK sign on live TV," 15 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Incorporated into quilts, the motif was used within the Underground Railroad to signal support for enslaved people’s escape. George Fishman, miamiherald, "Monarchs ‘Brown and Native’ butterfly exhibit a response to contemporary events," 13 July 2018 Cynthina Crespo, 27, 800 block of Oliver Avenue, Aurora, was charged with drunken driving and failure to signal at 9:19 p.m. Friday near East Illinois Avenue and North Broadway, Aurora police said. Erika Wurst, Aurora Beacon-News, "Police: Aurora man charged with residential burglary," 9 July 2018 The Enquirer/John Fay Trailing by four runs in the top of the 12th inning Tuesday, Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman attempted to signal an intentional walk from the dugout. Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Reds manager Jim Riggleman ejected after umpire told him to 'do your job'," 4 July 2018 Seattle Seahawks safety Kameron Chancellor made a heartfelt announcement on social media Sunday evening that appears to signal his retirement from the NFL. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "Seahawks' Kam Chancellor makes sobering announcement on social media," 2 July 2018 Hopper was arrested along with actress Uma von Wittkamp, 26, after their car was pulled over for failure to signal. Ale Russian, PEOPLE.com, "Sean Penn and Robin Wright's Son Hopper, 24, Pleads No Contest in Nebraska Drug Arrest: Reports," 21 June 2018 Leucine is the most important amino acid for initiating and signaling pathways that stimulate muscle protein growth and recovery, Pritchett explains. Sara Angle, Outside Online, "Pea Protein Is the Best Protein," 19 June 2018 On average, jobless claims have to be rising for more than a year before signaling that a recession is on the horizon, said Steven Chiavarone, a portfolio manager at Federated Investors. Akane Otani, WSJ, "Stocks Start Off 2019 With a Bang," 27 Jan. 2019 The breakup wasn’t unexpected, as Micron had signaled its intention to terminate the agreement last year. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel kills Optane 'Core+' desktop processor bundles as 3D XPoint venture dissolves," 15 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But over time water intruded into the splice, and suddenly the signal wire was transmitting no signal. C.j. Chivers, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Thing To Do When Your Dog Won't Stay," 24 Dec. 2018 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

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

14 Feb 2019

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)

formal : 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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