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


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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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 My neighbor Kelly Gray dreads the sound of the siren. Manjula Martin, The New Yorker, 30 Sep. 2021 But the siren’s call of all that space and design eventually overwhelm Jones’s choreographic sense. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 29 Sep. 2021 The officer turned the squad car's siren and emergency lights off and then saw that the Pilot struck another vehicle. Eddie Morales, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3 Sep. 2021 What’s more, Double Feature key art shows what appears to be a Red Tide siren and a Death Valley alien with the same distinctive, razor-sharp teeth. Lydia Wang,, 27 Aug. 2021 Slater also oversaw a marketing campaign that presented his new artist as a sulky siren, transforming her into a global star and a media target. Mick Stevens, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2021 These visual depictions of sound look like sonar images from the ocean floor, with multicolored peaks and valleys depicting a syncopated go-go beat, the blare of a siren and the whoosh of a Metrobus’s brakes. Washington Post, 20 July 2021 But the differential between expected and observed cases within certain cohorts is the statistical equivalent of a blaring siren. David Zweig, Wired, 16 July 2021 Listening for the whoop of a siren is a tradition in much of the central and southern United States. Dennis Mersereau, Forbes, 28 May 2021 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, 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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Dictionary Entries Near siren



siren call

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Siren.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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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 : temptress
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on siren

Nglish: Translation of siren for Spanish Speakers

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


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