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 The silence was finally broken when the Criminals scored and the siren mounted atop the library wailed into the night air, echoing off buildings and drifting across the river into California. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Friday Night Lights burn bright across state line in Arizona," 11 Oct. 2020 Cooper’s show opened with the sound of an air raid siren., "How William Cooper and his book ‘Behold a Pale Horse’ planted seeds of QAnon conspiracy theory," 1 Oct. 2020 In one instance, Southern District officers on patrol in the 2100 block of McHenry Street saw a silver Malibu turn on its red and blue lights, and a siren. Justin Fenton,, "Baltimore Police received tip that Gun Trace Task Force ringleader was robbing citizens in 2015, well before federal investigation surfaced," 30 Sep. 2020 The siren call of the road is instilled in her by her footloose father (Timothy Hutton), who believes in travel as life’s ultimate education. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Four actresses and Julie Taymor go full epic for Gloria Steinem in ‘The Glorias’," 29 Sep. 2020 The equivalent of an air raid siren (approximately 135 decibels), and louder than a balloon pop (125), riveter (115), or jackhammer (110). Dallas News, "From air raid siren to a toilet flush: Will Seahawks still have homefield advantage vs. Cowboys?," 25 Sep. 2020 Please put your safety first – high/low siren, time to go. Roland Li,, "PG&E outages hit 37,000 customers in St. Helena and Santa Rosa areas, shares drop 7%," 28 Sep. 2020 Now the rock siren and hippie soul man have teamed up for a rare performance of two classics for the Star Tribune’s virtual grandstand. Jon Bream, Star Tribune, "'Voice' finalists Kat Perkins and Nicholas David team up for our Mini-Grandstand finale," 7 Sep. 2020 A few seconds pass and a siren turns off as the officer repeats his command for Saldivar to stand up. Jamie Landers, The Arizona Republic, "Prescott Valley police defend using K-9 to detain suspect after pursuit, claim suspect hesitated," 17 Sep. 2020 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

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Siren.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Oct. 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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