siren

noun
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
b : temptress
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

siren

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

Definition of siren (Entry 2 of 2)

: resembling that of a siren : enticing

Keep scrolling for more

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

The Cypress sound was an explosion of screaming sirens, eerie echoes, and slowed-down funk. Michael Gonzales, Longreads, "It’s Like That: The Makings of a Hip-Hop Writer," 10 June 2019 Associated Press reporters on the east side of the Tigris River, opposite the Green Zone, heard an explosion, after which alert sirens sounded briefly in Baghdad. Qassim Abdul-zahra, The Seattle Times, "Rocket attack hits near US Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone," 19 May 2019 Embodying the former, Alessandra Ambrosio stepped out in the beachside town today looking like an off-duty screen siren in a nearly all-white ensemble comprised of a Jacquemus top, worn open to reveal a black bikini, and flared white trousers. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Alessandra Ambrosio’s French Girl Hair Trick Is Worth Stealing for Summer," 14 May 2019 Every New Yorker has that special splurge piece in their closet, the one that makes little practical sense but seduces its purchaser like a department store siren. Zachary Schwartz, Vogue, "The Fine Print: Polkadots, Stripes, and More at the Art Production Fund’s Gala," 13 Mar. 2019 Many self-driving cars also have microphones that give them a sense of hearing, allowing them to detect honking horns, blaring sirens, screeching tires, and so forth. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "This startup helps self-driving cars literally feel the road," 11 Sep. 2018 By adding acoustic technology IVO, could one day respond to horns, sirens, or human voices. Erin Biba, Popular Mechanics, "Robot, You Can Drive My Car," 8 Aug. 2018 The entire interview — totally uncut and complete with interruptions from passing emergency sirens, audio issues, and asides to the camera operators — is worth watching. Nilay Patel, The Verge, "Casey Neistat interviews Logan Paul: ‘There’s a difference between being culturally insensitive and being insensitive’," 27 July 2018 The incident set off sirens throughout northern Israel and residents were forced to rush into shelters. Tia Goldenberg, The Seattle Times, "Israel activates missile defense system after Syria rockets," 23 July 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.

See More

First Known Use of siren

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1568, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for siren

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about siren

Dictionary Entries near siren

Siredon

sire index

sireless

siren

siren call

Sirenia

sirenian

Statistics for siren

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for siren

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for siren

siren

noun

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

siren

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

Kids Definition of siren

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on siren

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with siren

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for siren

Spanish Central: Translation of siren

Nglish: Translation of siren for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of siren for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about siren

Comments on siren

What made you want to look up siren? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!