: 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
: a device often electrically operated for producing a penetrating warning sound
an ambulance siren
an air-raid siren
[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
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.
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
There's also an 86-decibel siren that can be heard at a distance of 600 feet for emergencies.—Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 20 Jan. 2023 If the lights went out but there was no air raid siren, the audience was instructed to wait five or ten minutes for the generators to kick in.—Nick Holdsworth, Variety, 5 Dec. 2022 There's a loud siren in case you're lost in the woods, and a spare Action Button to trigger specific and configurable actions.—Gear Team, WIRED, 28 Nov. 2022 This twisted, wordless quasi-love story follows a deaf knight whose entire battalion is felled by a siren-like creature covered in gold and jewels.—Scott Meslow, Vulture, 25 May 2022 Johnson launched his open-wheel program with the blessing of wife Chandra and daughters Genevieve and Lydia on the condition ovals were strictly verboten — especially that siren-of-a-track in Indianapolis.—John Sturbin, Dallas News, 13 Mar. 2022 And for the 2022 EBONY Power 100 event in LA, Shiona pulled a siren-red look fresh from Maximilian Davis’s debut Ferragamo collection for Letitia to wear.—Alice Cary, Glamour, 4 Nov. 2022 There was one particular overture that became a siren call to brown internet children in the 2010s.—Sakshi Venkatraman, NBC News, 16 Oct. 2022 That’s the classic source of a siren-like whining noise while accelerating.—Ray Magliozzi, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Sep. 2022
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, 13 Feb. 2019 See More
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.
Middle English, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French sereine, from Late Latin sirena, from Latin siren, from Greek seirēn