warn·​ing | \ˈwȯr-niŋ \

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 \ adverb

Examples of warning in a Sentence


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.


usually gave her trademark warning look when the children were getting out of hand
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But this time, with investors already worried about the global economy and the effect of the trade war on growth, the warning is being seen in a different light. Matt Phillips, The Seattle Times, "Stocks slide as bond market sounds a recession warning," 4 Dec. 2018 Investigators have yet to pinpoint the source—or even a common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand—hence the abundantly cautious blanket warning. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, "Here Are the E. Coli Symptoms to Watch Out For, Just in Case You Ate Contaminated Romaine Lettuce Recently," 20 Nov. 2018 The warnings indicate the romaine lettuce recall is widespread—unlike others that only apply to certain brands, states or stores, the CDC is currently considering all romaine lettuce unsafe to eat. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "Do Not Eat Any Romaine Lettuce: Health Officials Have Issued a Massive Recall," 20 Nov. 2018 Hence the warnings against over-confidence and pleas for a humble demeanour. The Economist, "In its trade war with America, China dials down the hype," 12 July 2018 Though the warning was signed on June 28, the commission released the announcement on Thursday, over two weeks later. Gabrielle Banks, Houston Chronicle, "Waller County judge warned about misusing the "prestige of his judicial office."," 12 July 2018 Nonetheless, Spadaro repeated the warning in his email Tuesday to neighbors on the Magothy. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Explosion of false dark mussels revives hopes for clearer waters and concern for dogs in Anne Arundel County," 11 July 2018 The warning turned out to be an error, but the fears raised were very real. Jay Jones, latimes.com, "Hawaii's nuclear scare takes a theatrical turn aimed at healing the fears of that day," 9 July 2018 The physical books, meanwhile, will be housed inside of a ventilated cabinet, where each will be safely stored in separate cardboard boxes, carefully marked with safety warnings. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Arsenic-Laced Books Discovered in University Library," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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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Statistics for warning

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for warning

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

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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 \

Kids Definition of warning

: something that cautions of possible danger or trouble storm warnings

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More from Merriam-Webster on warning

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

Comments on warning

What made you want to look up warning? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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