Alarm



a sudden fear or distressing suspense caused by an awareness of danger; apprehension; fright.
any sound, outcry, or information intended to warn of approaching danger:
Paul Revere raced through the countryside raising the alarm that the British were coming.
an automatic device that serves to call attention, to rouse from sleep, or to warn of fire, smoke, an intruder, etc.
a warning sound; signal for attention.
Animal Behavior. any sound, outcry, chemical discharge, action, or other signal that functions to draw attention to a potential predator.
Fencing. an appeal or a challenge made by a step or stamp on the ground with the advancing foot.
Archaic. a call to arms.
to make fearful or apprehensive; distress.
to warn of danger; rouse to vigilance and swift measures for safety.
to fit or equip with an alarm or alarms, as for fire, smoke, or robbery:
to alarm one’s house and garage.
Contemporary Examples

Then, around 8:30, every alarm went off, all of them blaring at the same time.
Fighter Jets Escort Plane to JFK September 10, 2011

There will be no differences among them when an alarm comes in and they all respond as firefighters when an alarm comes in.
Firefighter’s Son in Iconic 1995 Funeral Photo Follows His Dad’s Deadly Steps Michael Daly December 9, 2013

Why his suspicious-sounding pun name didn’t set off alarm bells is anybody’s guess, but lesson learned.
Heinous Investment Advice Andy Borowitz March 22, 2009

Back in May, Graham spent two days dashing around his home state, sounding the alarm.
Lindsey Graham Defies Party Line as Defense Cuts, GOP Primary Loom Michelle Cottle July 26, 2012

The Daily Beast’s Lennox Samuels and Takashi Yokota report from Tokyo on the alarm over radiation in the city.
Japan Nuclear Nightmare: Tokyo Fears Radiation Lennox Samuels, Takashi Yokota March 14, 2011

Historical Examples

“Oh, stop this infernal nonsense, Tony,” he said in a tone tinged with alarm.
The Eddy Clarence L. Cullen

But Mr. Paine assured her that letters were likely to be irregular, and there was no ground for alarm.
Brave and Bold Horatio Alger

Dropping her flowers in alarm, the maiden screamed for her mother and attendants.
Half a Hundred Hero Tales Various

“You alarm me, dear young friend,” continued the good minister.
Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, No. 327 Various

The instant of alarm passed and a braver smile than ever came.
Truxton King George Barr McCutcheon

verb (transitive)
to fill with apprehension, anxiety, or fear
to warn about danger; alert
to fit or activate a burglar alarm on a house, car, etc
noun
fear or terror aroused by awareness of danger; fright
apprehension or uneasiness: the idea of failing filled him with alarm
a noise, signal, etc, warning of danger
any device that transmits such a warning: a burglar alarm

the device in an alarm clock that triggers off the bell or buzzer
short for alarm clock

(archaic) a call to arms
(fencing) a warning or challenge made by stamping the front foot
n.

early 14c., from Old French alarme (14c.), from Italian all’arme “to arms!” (literally “to the arms”). An interjection that came to be used as the word for the call or warning (cf. alert). Extended 16c. to “any sound to warn of danger or to arouse.” Weakened sense of “apprehension, unease” is from 1833. Variant alarum is due to the rolling -r- in the vocalized form. Sometimes in early years anglicized as all-arm. Alarm clock is attested from 1690s (as A Larum clock).
v.

1580s, from alarm (n.). Related: Alarmed; alarming.
air-launched antiradiation missile

a particular quivering sound of the silver trumpets to give warning to the Hebrews on their journey through the wilderness (Num. 10:5, 6), a call to arms, or a war-note (Jer. 4:19; 49:2; Zeph. 1:16).

see: false alarm

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  • Alarmed

    a sudden fear or distressing suspense caused by an awareness of danger; apprehension; fright. any sound, outcry, or information intended to warn of approaching danger: Paul Revere raced through the countryside raising the alarm that the British were coming. an automatic device that serves to call attention, to rouse from sleep, or to warn of […]

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