warn·​ing | \ ˈwȯr-niŋ How to pronounce warning (audio) \

Definition of warning

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the act of warning : the state of being warned he had warning of his illness
2 : something that warns or serves to warn especially : a notice or bulletin that alerts the public to an imminent hazard (such as a tornado, thunderstorm, or flood)



Definition of warning (Entry 2 of 2)

: serving as an alarm, signal, summons, or admonition a warning bell a warning shot

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from warning


warningly \ ˈwȯr-​niŋ-​lē How to pronounce warning (audio) \ adverb

Examples of warning in a Sentence

Noun She gave me a warning about the difficulties of the job. She issued a stern warning against making changes too quickly. Let that be a warning to you. We had no warning of the dangers that were ahead of us. Without any warning she turned around and ran. The storm struck without warning. I was stopped for speeding, but the policeman just gave me a warning. Adjective usually gave her trademark warning look when the children were getting out of hand
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The planned meeting follows comments by Fed Chair Jerome Powell this week warning that stablecoins lack needed regulatory oversight. BostonGlobe.com, 17 July 2021 Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory Thursday warning against health misinformation. Sarah E. Needleman, WSJ, 16 July 2021 Evacuation of a wilderness recreation area was ordered and officials kept in place a warning for residents of the tiny communities of Pulga and east Concow to be ready to leave. CBS News, 16 July 2021 No responsible dealer would spread that kind of uncut junk without diluting it, or at least warning customers. Jordan Runtagh, PEOPLE.com, 16 July 2021 They are accused of failing communicate weather conditions and failing to cease operations during a severe thunderstorm warning. NBC News, 16 July 2021 They are accused of failing communicate weather conditions and failing to cease operations during a severe thunderstorm warning. Fox News, 16 July 2021 They are accused of failing communicate weather conditions and failing to cease operations during a severe thunderstorm warning. John Hanna, chicagotribune.com, 16 July 2021 Kennan described the shooting as an ambush attack on Ferency without any apparent warning. Tom Davies, Star Tribune, 8 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In response, statistical authorities around the world could do little but issue warning press releases. Andrew Whitby, Time, 17 Apr. 2020 Privacy advocates have sounded warning bells about Big Brother secretly watching us from the sky. Katy Moeller, idahostatesman, 22 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'warning.' 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 warning


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1511, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for warning


Middle English warnyng, warnynge, going back to Old English warnung, wearning, from wearnian "to warn" + -ung, -ing -ing entry 3


from attributive use of warning entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About warning

Time Traveler for warning

Time Traveler

The first known use of warning was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near warning

Warner Robins


warning coloration

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for warning

Last Updated

18 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Warning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warning. Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for warning



English Language Learners Definition of warning

: something (such as an action or a statement) that tells someone about possible danger or trouble
: a statement that tells a person that bad or wrong behavior will be punished if it happens again


warn·​ing | \ ˈwȯr-niŋ How to pronounce warning (audio) \

Kids Definition of warning

: something that cautions of possible danger or trouble storm warnings

More from Merriam-Webster on warning

Nglish: Translation of warning for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of warning for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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