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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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

To untutored ears, gqom can sound gritty, with its apocalyptic sirens and ribcage-rattling bass. Kate Hutchinson, New York Times, "Sho Madjozi’s Mixed Up, Pan-African Rap," 9 Aug. 2019 The club jam, with its police sirens and talked-through lyrics, never quite stuck. Dave Quinn,, "The Definitive Ranking of Every Single Real Housewives Song," 5 Aug. 2019 Hamil then rolled up her window and drove off, prompting the officer to run to his own car in pursuit of her with his sirens on. Doha Madani, NBC News, "Body camera video shows Oklahoma woman hit with stun gun after kicking officer," 1 Aug. 2019 The patrol car had its siren and lights on, police say. Cliff Pinckard,, "Mentor patrol car involved in crash while transporting prisoner," 4 July 2019 The Courier Journal reported in April that Deputy Jeremy Johnson chased a suspected heroin dealer into Fayette County on a rainy night, realizing in midpursuit that his siren wasn’t working. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "Police can be sued for harming bystanders during high-speed chases, high court rules," 14 June 2019 Witnesses reported seeing the squad’s emergency lights flashing and hearing its siren prior to the collision, police said. Susan Demar Lafferty, Daily Southtown, "Will County sheriff's deputy involved in crash," 3 July 2018 When deputies arrived and turned their sirens on, the woman took off on foot, while Berson and the other man fled west on I-94 in the U-Haul. Adriana Ramirez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waukesha man shot and wounded by deputy during chase after stealing from Delafield Kohl's, police say," 3 July 2018 When detectives turned on their sirens and returned to the woods near the area where Shriver went missing, Shriver came out from a wooded area about a mile south of the location where her vehicle was stuck, deputies said. Kevin Williams, ajc, "Missing Florida woman found alive in woods 4 days after her car stalled," 26 June 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.

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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



Statistics for siren

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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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
: 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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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 Encyclopedia article about siren

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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