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a guiding or warning signal, as a light or fire, especially one in an elevated position.
a tower or hill used for such purposes.
a lighthouse, signal buoy, etc., on a shore or at a dangerous area at sea to warn and guide vessels.

radio beacon.
a radar device at a fixed location that, upon receiving a radar pulse, transmits a reply pulse that enables the original sender to determine his or her position relative to the fixed location.

a person, act, or thing that warns or guides.
a person or thing that illuminates or inspires:
The Bible has been our beacon during this trouble.
Digital Technology, web beacon.
to serve as a beacon to; warn or guide.
to furnish or mark with beacons:
a ship assigned to beacon the shoals.
to serve or shine as a beacon:
A steady light beaconed from the shore.
a city in SE New York.
Contemporary Examples

Because during those times that were so cruel and so dark, those small acts of kindness were beacons of light.
Ping Fu’s Journey from Cultural Revolution Orphan to Geomagic CEO Katie Baker January 19, 2013

Punctuating the sand from end to end, postos are the permanent lifeguard stands that act like beacons.
The Girl From Ipanema Is Not Alone: Rio’s Famous Beach Is A Rich, Cultural Kaleidoscope Brandon Presser June 22, 2014

Mr Peek, who organised a raft of Golden Jubilee beacons in 2002, delivered the crystal to the Tower of London yesterday evening.
4,000 Beacons To Illuminate The Globe on Jubilee Weekend Tom Sykes May 1, 2012

Cuomo, as any other governor would, insists his budgets are beacons of responsibility.
Powerbroker Richard Ravitch Thinks New York Might Be Doomed Josh Robin April 25, 2014

Both athletes are—at this moment, at least—national heroes and beacons of American patriotism.
Gabby Douglas, Ryan Lochte: Why Families of America’s Olympics Athletes Are Broke Kevin Fallon August 6, 2012

Historical Examples

It was not merely a melody but also a mnemonic; just as their towers were not merely trophies but beacons and belfries.
The London Mercury, Vol. I, Nos. 1-6, November 1919 to April 1920 Various

The beacons solved that problem and opened the entire universe.
The Repairman Harry Harrison

Men offer not up old glove leather for incense, nor are beacons fed with undressed hides, I trow.
The Fair Maid of Perth Sir Walter Scott

For this reason, most beacons are built on uninhabited planets.
The Repairman Harry Harrison

Why should we not see superior beings ahead of us, beacons, as it were, on the route we have to follow?
Metapsychical Phenomena J. Maxwell

a signal fire or light on a hill, tower, etc, esp one used formerly as a warning of invasion
a hill on which such fires were lit
a lighthouse, signalling buoy, etc, used to warn or guide ships in dangerous waters
short for radio beacon
a radio or other signal marking a flight course in air navigation
short for Belisha beacon
a person or thing that serves as a guide, inspiration, or warning
a stone set by a surveyor to mark a corner or line of a site boundary, etc
to guide or warn
(intransitive) to shine

Old English beacen “sign, portent, lighthouse,” from West Germanic *baukna “beacon, signal” (cf. Old Frisian baken, Old Saxon bokan, Old High German bouhhan); not found outside Germanic. Perhaps borrowed from Latin bucina “a crooked horn or trumpet, signal horn.” But more likely from PIE *bhew-, a variant of the base *bha- “to gleam, shine” (see phantasm). Figurative use from c.1600.

a pole (Heb. to’ren) used as a standard or ensign set on the tops of mountains as a call to the people to assemble themselves for some great national purpose (Isa. 30:17). In Isa. 33:23 and Ezek. 27:5, the same word is rendered “mast.” (See Banner.)


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