Meaning of alarm in English:


Pronunciation /əˈlɑːm/

See synonyms for alarm

Translate alarm into Spanish


mass noun
  • 1An anxious awareness of danger.

    ‘the boat tilted and the boatmen cried out in alarm’
    • ‘some experts view the plan with alarm’
    • ‘Ken looked above him in alarm and watched in shock as dirt, stones, support beams, all toppled on top of Ken, completely burying him alive.’
    • ‘She turned around in alarm, fearing he had taken off and was really going to follow through with his joke of leaving her by herself.’
    • ‘Occasionally we can see young men reacting to the declaration of pregnancy, always with alarm and fear.’
    • ‘Their cries became stained with alarm and horror at the departing children.’
    • ‘Ri shrieked in alarm and jumped, shocked to find Kasna standing in the far corner.’
    • ‘Leanne's nervous system halted as she listened in alarm.’
    • ‘The duke meanwhile enjoyed the vision she made, eyes wild and blue with alarm, lips slightly open in complete shock.’
    • ‘Seeing the approaching danger, Christian cried out in alarm, and loosed his grip on his short sword.’
    • ‘His voice was strident with alarm, and his beautiful eyes were dark with fear.’
    • ‘There were raised voices in alarm all over the complex and a few cries of fear.’
    • ‘‘Naturally, any criminal incident is greeted with alarm by members of the business community,’ he said.’
    • ‘On the other side of the Limpopo, South Africa must be watching events with alarm; the last thing its government needs is a neighbour and trading partner in economic freefall.’
    • ‘Although no one could figure out where exactly he disappeared to under cover of the darkness, the neighbourhood woke up in alarm at midnight to find Pehlad's house on fire.’
    • ‘This week we all start operating in the energy field of the Crab, who skitters sideways in alarm when approached directly.’
    • ‘Far from flying off in alarm at my approach, as just about any other bird would, this specimen of Cathartes aura greeted me with the avian equivalent of a yawn.’
    • ‘Ten seconds before Jasper comes in and barks in alarm.’
    • ‘Beth Rodden calls out in alarm from the other portaledge.’
    • ‘But some health policy experts view the plan with alarm.’
    • ‘We cannot help but wonder with alarm: how many more colleagues with some sense of shame and conscience will follow the footsteps of Li Fang?’
    • ‘A quietness followed my outburst; even the chickens stopped clucking and tilted their heads in alarm briefly.’
    fear, anxiety, apprehension, trepidation, nervousness, unease, distress, agitation, consternation, disquiet, perturbation, fright, panic, dread, horror, shock, terror
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    1. 1.1in singular A warning of danger.
      ‘I hammered on several doors to raise the alarm’
      • ‘Oliver smelled smoke and gave the alarm’
      • ‘She managed to free herself and raise the alarm after a passing motorcyclist gave her a lift to the police station.’
      • ‘She eventually managed to stop a passing motorist in the early hours yesterday and raise the alarm.’
      • ‘He tried to use his phone to raise the alarm but was not able to get a signal so he hammered on the door of the house.’
      • ‘While the current version can only raise the alarm, it could be adapted to corner an intruder if the customer wanted…’
      • ‘He reached South Georgia, but landed on the wrong side of the island and had to cross 26 miles of mountainous terrain, before reaching a whaling station to raise the alarm.’
      • ‘The Guards strove to advance still closer to their quarry, but a crackling stick gave the alarm and some six or seven men around the still sped off across the bog in two groups.’
      • ‘He gave the alarm and Miss Minnie Moore, housekeeper of the hotel, ran from room to room - sometimes in dense smoke - to rouse other occupants.’
      • ‘He spent several hours searching the mountainside for his brother, an experienced walker, before descending to raise the alarm from a public phone box.’
      • ‘After walking almost three miles, Reeve telephoned to raise the alarm and 10 members of Torridon Mountain Rescue team were called out.’
      • ‘The two-year-old Labrador can open doors, turn on lights, pick up dropped items and raise the alarm if something is wrong with Luke.’
      • ‘THE LIFE of a Freehold youngster was saved by a revolutionary new system designed to raise the alarm when swimmers get into difficulties.’
      • ‘I'm going to continue to raise the alarm because I really believe our future in the aerospace industry is at stake.’
      • ‘Coastguards were alerted by the woman's friend, a 14-year-old girl, who managed to swim ashore to raise the alarm.’
      • ‘Mr Rushton contacted his wife to raise the alarm.’
      • ‘Mr Wynn, an 18-year-old archaeology student at the University of York, managed to escape and raise the alarm.’
      • ‘Jeff Griffiths, 61, was one of the first to raise the alarm.’
      • ‘British Telecom has apologised after a petrol station worker being held by a knifeman couldn't raise the alarm because the phonelines were broken.’
      • ‘Community officers working in Warminster are now urging residents to look out for elderly relatives and raise the alarm if they see suspicious callers.’
      • ‘The issue needs a bit more investigation, before we raise the alarm, but this is a potentially important economic development.’
      • ‘The teenager's friend ran to nearby houses to raise the alarm.’
      siren, warning sound, alarm signal, danger signal, distress signal, alert
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    2. 1.2count noun A warning sound or device.
      ‘they disabled the alarm and used a glass cutter to get in’
      • ‘His apparent failure to notice that the pressure system was still on manual reportedly resulted in a warning alarm being sounded at 10,000 ft.’
      • ‘The thieves would survey a shop using stolen vehicles and then set off its alarms and disable security devices at night.’
      • ‘North Vancouver City has added a bit more bite to its noise bylaw when it comes to unattended ongoing vehicle alarms and booming bass sounds coming from cars or nightclubs.’
      • ‘Motoring experts say it has been largely prompted by increased vehicle security, with sophisticated alarms and locking devices making it harder for thieves to steal valuable cars.’
      • ‘As the alarms sounded, I saw masses of black smoke billowing out and realised it was serious.’
      • ‘The company claimed the alarms and devices they sold had been approved by the council, the police and even local trading standards officers.’
      • ‘We discussed all types of alarms and safety devices for the elderly.’
      • ‘The two things that struck him most during his first visit here were the sound of dogs barking at night and the sound of car alarms.’
      • ‘Halfway across the Pacific, computer alarms also sounded and staff pagers beeped at a seismic centre in Honolulu.’
      • ‘Constantly sounding alarms can be a serous nuisance to neighbours.’
      • ‘Shoppers were forced to evacuate into the pouring rain on Monday afternoon when the alarms sounded.’
      • ‘This alarm will sound whenever a door is opened, and is designed to alert parents to small children who may have entered the pool area unnoticed.’
      • ‘No alarm was sounded at the hospital to indicate any emergency.’
      • ‘"From now on I shall not be keeping any cash here overnight and I am getting alarms installed."’
      • ‘Noise in the environment makes it difficult to hear alarms or easily determine where the alarm is located.’
      • ‘His father was asleep upstairs, but he heard the alarm and rushed down to rescue his son.’
      • ‘Fire officers pleaded with the 30-plus residents at the centre to stop ignoring the alarms when they go off, claiming that lives could be put at risk.’
      • ‘For peace of mind, the properties come with wiring for a security alarm, and two inter-connected smoke detectors on the landing.’
      • ‘Thieves gained entry by disconnecting the security alarm and forcing their entry through the rear door.’
      • ‘If the alarm is set off the light on the main panel will let you know which zone the intruder is in.’
      alarm, alarm bell, warning bell, danger signal
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    3. 1.3count noun An alarm clock.
      ‘I set my alarm for 6:30’
      • ‘It's a classic Swiss Army knife with lots of different blades and stuff, but it's updated with a digital clock, alarm, and stopwatch.’
      • ‘It even comes with an alarm, a clock, and the ability to store up to 10 of your favorite stations in each of the three frequencies.’
      • ‘For example, the Datalink comes with a chronograph, countdown timer, interval timer, multiple alarms and even a notepad.’
      • ‘Or rather, I watch my watch, because I can't find a clock anywhere in the room, not even for an alarm.’
      • ‘I usually have a mental alarm and don't need a clock to wake up.’
      • ‘It's like a silent alarm ringing on a carefully coded genetic clock.’
      • ‘Just as some people awake at the same time each day whether or not they set an alarm, Matta has an internal shot clock.’
      • ‘It's like a Hospital-you can hear the pipes in the walls humming, the air circulating; everyone has switched their alarms off because it's Saturday.’
      • ‘Compare radio alarm prices, read radio alarm clock reviews and check online store ratings.’
      • ‘Alarms can be set to different stations or to a simple alarm tone and alarm volume set independently of main radio volume.’
      • ‘There's nothing quite like the shock of the alarm going off in the morning.’
      • ‘The alarm can also play any sound you choose and includes a handy snooze button.’
      • ‘An alarm can be set to go off once, daily, weekly, monthly or annually, with very flexible scheduling.’
      • ‘Each alarm can have multiple schedules.’
      • ‘We have begun selling a line of bedside alarms.’
      • ‘Clocky Robotic Alarm - Awesome robotic alarm clock to wake you up!’
      • ‘More gentle than the jarring noise of traditional alarms, this clock uses a gradual increase in ambient light, stimulating aromas, and peaceful sounds from nature to awaken sleepers.’
      • ‘The snooze button may be pushed to silence an alarm for a pre-determined length of time.’
      • ‘The alarm offers a 10 minute snooze feature.’
      • ‘Though the call wasn’t mine it managed to work well and I found it impossible to go back to sleep until minutes before my own alarm went off.’


[with object]
  • 1Cause (someone) to feel frightened, disturbed, or in danger.

    ‘many people were alarmed by the decision’
    • ‘the news had alarmed her’
    • ‘As well as being worried about his command of English, the implicit danger of stereotyping alarms him.’
    • ‘As a generalist, this alarms me somewhat.’
    • ‘The lack of oversight alarms some members of Congress.’
    • ‘I'm sure I alarm my friends just as Fred alarms me.’
    • ‘Mr Lovejoy says its labelling rules already allow a GM content in food of anything less than one per to be disregarded and the threat of contamination alarms him.’
    • ‘If this alarms you, listen to what Central Ground Water Board experts have to say.’
    • ‘All this alarms many observers of global conflict.’
    • ‘Should we be interested in following a child we are made to believe is capable of loving even though our cognition constantly alarms us that it is not?’
    • ‘I know this happens much more frequently and intensely in winter but it still alarms me how many days I feel deflated right now.’
    • ‘The thing that really alarms me about all this is the utter brazenness with which the loot is being divvied up now.’
    • ‘Clearly the content of this speech was chilling, but what alarms me more is the cold robotic way he delivered it.’
    • ‘So I can't be entirely down on therapy, but all this rampant self-obsession still alarms me.’
    • ‘Notice it alarms her - but not enough to stop her sticking these women on her covers.’
    • ‘A man accused of practising martial arts in a town centre told a court he did not mean to frighten or alarm anyone.’
    • ‘For example, if you oppose executions, the number of people on death row recently cleared by DNA evidence probably alarms you.’
    • ‘It surprises and alarms me that Australians are still divided on this matter.’
    • ‘[(d)] rowdy behaviour in the streets late at night which alarms local residents.’
    • ‘The arrogance and finality of these statements alarms me.’
    • ‘It is this positive change at the grassroots level of American society which amazes, and somewhat alarms the followers of other religions there.’
    • ‘If it alarms you to have to listen to an engineer, let me reassure you.’
    frighten, scare, panic, startle, unnerve, distress, agitate, upset, fluster, ruffle, disconcert, shock, daunt, dismay, disturb, work up, terrify, terrorize, petrify, make someone's blood run cold
    View synonyms
  • 2Fit or protect with an alarm.

    ‘I've just spent a fortune to alarm the house’
    • ‘The second point is very important because even if your car is locked and alarmed, it is still at risk if there are valuables on view.’
    • ‘The room where kit is stored is locked and alarmed at night, but during the day people have free access.’
    • ‘One is the home, now triple-bolted, alarmed and window-locked against intruders.’
    • ‘After all if your house is alarmed and another house just up the road isn't then your house is a lot less likely to get targeted.’
    • ‘Is the building alarmed?’


Late Middle English (as an exclamation meaning ‘to arms!’): from Old French alarme, from Italian allarme, from all' arme! ‘to arms!’.