si·​ren | \ ˈsī-rən How to pronounce siren (audio) , for sense 3 also sī-ˈrēn \

Definition of siren

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 often capitalized : any of a group of female and partly human creatures in Greek mythology that lured mariners to destruction by their singing
2a : a woman who sings with enchanting sweetness
3a : an apparatus producing musical tones especially in acoustical studies by the rapid interruption of a current of air, steam, or fluid by a perforated rotating disk
b : a device often electrically operated for producing a penetrating warning sound an ambulance siren an air-raid siren
4 [New Latin, from Latin] : either of two North American eel-shaped amphibians that constitute a genus (Siren) and have small forelimbs but neither hind legs nor pelvis and have permanent external gills as well as lungs


si·​ren | \ ˈsī-rən How to pronounce siren (audio) \

Definition of siren (Entry 2 of 2)

: resembling that of a siren : enticing

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Did You Know?

The sirens were a group of partly human female creatures that lured sailors onto destructive rocks with their singing. Odysseus and his men encountered the sirens on their long journey home from Troy. The only way to sail by them safely was to make oneself deaf to their enchanting song, so Odysseus packed the men's ears with wax, while he himself, ever curious, kept his ears open but had himself tied to the mast to keep from flinging himself into the water or steering his ship toward sure destruction in his desire to see them. A siren today is a sinister but almost irresistible woman. A siren song, however, may be any appeal that lures a person to act against his or her better judgment.

Examples of siren in a Sentence

Noun the wailing of air-raid sirens one of history's most famous sirens, Cleopatra charmed both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Six squads were dispatched with sirens sounding and lights flashing to the 1100 block of High Pointe Knoll Circle shortly before 11 p.m. Jan. 25. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A man claimed he was robbed at gunpoint in Waukesha. It never happened, police say.," 30 Jan. 2020 Fox News reporter Trey Yingst posted a video near the area of the attacks, which has sirens blaring in the background. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Reports of rockets fired at Green Zone in Baghdad," 8 Jan. 2020 Schools were closed in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area as air-raid sirens blared and Iron Dome missiles intercepted dozens of rockets., "Israel described the Gaza commander, Bahaa Abu el-Atta, as a “ticking bomb” who was “responsible for most of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s activity in the Gaza Strip.” Islamic Jihad said that the commander’s wife, Asmaa Abu el-Atta, was also killed in the 4 a.m. missile strike.," 13 Nov. 2019 As each afternoon waned, a bell rang to draw the curtains when a nightly blackout descended on the city; London was being bombed, with air raid sirens blaring. oregonlive, "The first American woman in uniform captured by the Nazis: Veterans Day 2019," 11 Nov. 2019 Kathy Neubecker, who lives on the west side of Marsh Creek Road, close to the jail, awoke in the middle of the night to neighbors pounding on her door and police sirens blaring, ordering her and her neighbors to evacuate. Erin Baldassari, The Mercury News, "Marsh Complex wildfires: More than 650 acres burned near Mount Diablo," 3 Aug. 2019 Police and fire department vehicles also took part in the parade, with their lights flashing and sirens blaring. Steve Schering,, "Oak Park celebrates 4th of July with Independence Day parade, fireworks," 8 July 2019 When a home invasion rape occurs in Alaska’s largest city, the Anchorage Police Department sends patrol cars with sirens blaring, Deputy Chief Ken McCoy said. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network," 16 May 2019 Mexico City also was also scheduled to hold its annual earthquake drill, with sirens set to blare across the metropolis following a moment of silence for quake victims. Peter Orsi, Fox News, "Mexico commemorates victims of deadly quakes," 19 Sep. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Emergency vehicle drivers face greater traffic in the city, more soundproofed cars and drivers who sometimes wear earbuds while driving, which often necessitate more siren use. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "New York City Council Members Want to Dial Down Sirens," 13 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'siren.' 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 siren


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1568, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for siren


Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French sereine, from Late Latin sirena, from Latin siren, from Greek seirēn

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Time Traveler for siren

Time Traveler

The first known use of siren was in the 14th century

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Statistics for siren

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Siren.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for siren


How to pronounce siren (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of siren

: a piece of equipment that produces a loud, high-pitched warning sound
: a woman who is very attractive but also dangerous
: one of a group of female creatures in Greek mythology whose singing attracted sailors and caused them to sail into dangerous water or toward rocks


si·​ren | \ ˈsī-rən How to pronounce siren (audio) \

Kids Definition of siren

: a device that makes a loud warning sound an ambulance siren

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More from Merriam-Webster on siren

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for siren

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with siren

Spanish Central: Translation of siren

Nglish: Translation of siren for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of siren for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about siren

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