1A column of smoke used as a way of conveying a message to a distant person.
- Many of their traditions and their original methods of communication - their language, smoke signals, and messages carried by people on foot - have survived.
- Tribes in Kurdistan set up a primitive warning system with observers and smoke signals to warn the most likely targets of the approach of British aircraft.
- The smoke signals from the Vatican were certainly this week's most newsworthy communicative acts.
1.1An indication of someone’s intentions or views: the Iowa caucuses might have given a small smoke signal of the Democrats' likely choice
More example sentences
- Various smoke signals have been sent up, but in truth, nobody knows. This is the type of thing that Bertie always, always keeps in pectore until the very last moment.
- As ever in Northern Ireland, however, the smoke signals are confused and indistinct.
- If you read The Sunday Times last week, there were smoke signals that gave you a pretty good idea what that might be.
For editors and proofreaders
Syllabification: smoke sig·nal
Definition of smoke signal in:
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.