si·ren | \ ˈsī-rən , 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

b : temptress

c : temptation sense 2

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 \

Definition of siren (Entry 2 of 2)

: resembling that of a siren : enticing

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Synonyms for siren

Synonyms: Noun

enchantress, seductress, temptress

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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


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

When Dumas went out on his first run, what noise there was came from the whine of the electric motors and the annoying siren that EVs are required to run during the race. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "7:57:148—Volkswagen makes racing history with record-breaking electric race car," 29 June 2018 There were conflicting reports on whether the siren warned residents. Susan Demar Lafferty, Daily Southtown, "Tornado damage closes Manhattan post office," 27 June 2018 As the sirens started blaring and the truck, wrapped with Harden’s image and signage, rolled forward, Christine Baccus stood nearby, waving to try to get one of her favorite former students’ attention. Tania Ganguli,, "In a 'really, really good place,' James Harden gives back to the middle school he attended," 25 June 2018 Then, sirens are heard as the emergency vehicles arrive at the Coto de Caza home. Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "911 call reveals desperate bid to save Bode Miller's daughter after swimming pool accident," 13 June 2018 Onlookers gawked as the boxy armored vehicle sped down a commercial street and traffic stopped for a line of police cars that followed behind, sirens blaring. Amanda Jackson, CNN, "Virginia police chased stolen armored personnel carrier through Richmond," 5 June 2018 Amid the crackle of thunder, sirens could be heard as firefighters arrived to offer assistance and survey the damage. Michael Democker,, "Saturday at Bayou Boogaloo: photo gallery," 19 May 2018 Two police cruisers, with sirens and flashing lights activated, chased the Kia eastbound on West Bagley. Bob Sandrick,, "Garfield Heights man leads police on high-speed chase; resident calls police after hearing gunshots: Berea police blotter," 26 Apr. 2018 And building a citywide siren system like those in Mexico and also Japan requires infrastructure, money and time that won’t be available to U.S. cities soon. Meghan Bartels, Newsweek, "When 'The Big One' Strikes, New Earthquake Warning System Could Reduce Deaths," 13 Mar. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near siren


sire index



siren call



Phrases Related to siren

siren call

Statistics for siren

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for siren

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

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More Definitions for siren



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

Siren : 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 \

Kids Definition of siren

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

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Comments on siren

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