Meaning of “alarm” in the English Dictionary

"alarm" in British English

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alarmnoun

uk /əˈlɑːm/ us /əˈlɑːrm/

alarm noun (WARNING)

[ C ] a warning of danger, usually a loud noise or flashing light:

If there's any trouble, raise/sound the alarm by pulling the emergency cord.
The first two bomb alerts were false alarms, but the third was for real.

B1 [ C ] a device that makes a loud noise to warn of danger:

B1 [ C ] If an electronic device such as a watch or computer has an alarm, it can be set to make a noise at a particular time.

More examples

  • If the alarm sounds, leave the building immediately.
  • The fire alarm goes off accidentally so often that when it's the real thing nobody will take any notice.
  • Quick, sound the alarm - there's a fire in the machine room!
  • Police said the thieves were obviously well acquainted with the alarm system at the department store.
  • I heard his alarm clock bleeping this morning.

alarm noun (WORRY)

C2 [ U ] sudden worry and fear, especially that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen:

I didn't tell her that he was late because I didn't want to cause her any alarm.
Villagers have reacted with alarm to news of a proposed new road.

More examples

  • The birds flew off in alarm when the cat appeared.
  • There was alarm in the stock market today when prices suddenly began to drop.
  • The gun shot made the monkeys chatter in alarm.
  • It's all right, everybody - there's no need for alarm.
  • A bomb threat caused great alarm in the City this morning.

alarmverb [ T ]

uk /əˈlɑːm/ us /əˈlɑːrm/

(Definition of “alarm” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"alarm" in American English

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alarmnoun

us /əˈlɑrm/

alarm noun (ANXIETY)

[ U ] sudden anxiety and fear, esp. that something very bad or dangerous might happen:

Nicholas detected a note of alarm in her voice.

alarm noun (WARNING)

[ C ] a warning signal such as a loud noise or flashing light that gets your immediate attention, or a device that produces such a signal:

Firefighters said the tragedy could have been avoided if the house had had smoke alarms.

alarmverb [ T ]

us /əˈlɑrm/

to feel or cause sudden anxiety and fear:

Guests were sometimes alarmed to learn that we never locked the doors of the house.
alarming
adjective us /əˈlɑr·mɪŋ/

Stock prices began to rise at an alarming rate.

(Definition of “alarm” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)