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

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Other Words from warning


warningly \ ˈwȯr-​niŋ-​lē How to pronounce warningly (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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Afternoon thunderstorms sometimes appear with little warning and can quickly turn a family picnic into a mad dash to the car. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Sweating in sweltering northern Utah? Where you can go to beat the heat.," 7 Aug. 2020 On top of this, a stranger (Vikings star Travis Fimmel) arrives on the planet with a warning: Mother may in fact be the proverbial Big Bad Wolf from the stories told to children. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Raised by Wolves trailer uploads Ridley Scott's creepy android series to HBO Max," 5 Aug. 2020 Harford County Emergency Manager Rick Ayers said the county is under a tropical storm warning, and the county’s emergency operations center is monitoring the storm in the county. James Whitlow, baltimoresun.com, "Tropical Storm Isaias brings heavy rains, some flooding to Harford County Tuesday morning, now on its way out," 4 Aug. 2020 Over 56 million Americans are under a tropical storm warning, with another 55 million in the watch area. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Isaias forecast to become hurricane again, target Carolinas before spreading impacts all the way to Maine," 3 Aug. 2020 Also under a tropical storm warning are major metropolitan hubs, including Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Isaias strengthens to hurricane and is expected to drive damaging winds and rain up East Coast," 3 Aug. 2020 In all, about 112 million Americans live where a tropical storm warning is in effect, according to the Weather Service. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "Just what we don't need: A hurricane," 3 Aug. 2020 As the storm moves now toward Florida, a hurricane warning is in effect from Boca Raton to the Volusia-Flagler county line, which lies about 150 miles north. Danica Coto, Anchorage Daily News, "Isaias weakens but may strengthen on path to virus-hit Florida," 2 Aug. 2020 On Saturday, a hurricane warning was in effect on Florida's east coast from Boca Raton, just north of Miami, to the Volusia-Brevard county line. CBS News, "Hurricane Isaias heads toward Florida's coast as state battles coronavirus surge," 1 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In response, statistical authorities around the world could do little but issue warning press releases. Andrew Whitby, Time, "Filling Out a Census Has Always Been a Political Act," 17 Apr. 2020 Privacy advocates have sounded warning bells about Big Brother secretly watching us from the sky. Katy Moeller, idahostatesman, "Treasure Valley police dabble in drones as prices drop, rules for use multiply," 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for warning

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for warning

Last Updated

10 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Warning.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warning. Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for warning


How to pronounce warning (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on warning

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for warning

Spanish Central: Translation of warning

Nglish: Translation of warning for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of warning for Arabic Speakers

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