Definition of beacon in English:


Line breaks: bea¦con
Pronunciation: /ˈbiːk(ə)n


  • 1A fire or light set up in a high or prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration: a chain of beacons carried the news her red hair was like a beacon in the night figurative the prospect of a new government was a beacon of hope for millions
    More example sentences
    • But amid the feelings of frustration, one piece of positive news shone out like a beacon of hope.
    • When I saw the sign of The Dolmen Hotel all lit up it was like a beacon of hope to me.
    • That said, Jerome Vareille stood out like a beacon of hope, creating or being on the end of the best of the few chances.
  • 1.1 [often in place names] British A hill suitable for a beacon: Ivinghoe Beacon
    More example sentences
    • One of the most wonderful walks I have taken was in the Brecon Beacons, Wales.
  • 1.2A light or other visible object serving as a signal, warning, or guide at sea, on an airfield, etc..
    More example sentences
    • Rotating beacons on airfields made their debut in the early 1920s.
    • What is the significance, if any, of the color and location of lights / beacons on airliners or any aircraft?
    • From the late 1970s, constellations of man-made navigation satellites have taken over as beacons to guide the way.
    warning light/fire, signal light/fire, bonfire, smoke signal, beam, signal, danger signal, guiding light; rocket, flare, Very light; lighthouse, light tower, pharos, phare, watchtower
  • 1.3A radio transmitter whose signal helps to fix the position of a ship, aircraft, or spacecraft.
    More example sentences
    • Similar technology is used to track down lost aircraft and yachts through their radio beacons.
    • The news of Corvette 03's shoot down arrived in the JRCC at a busy time; it was a hectic night with numerous reports of aircraft down and emergency beacons being detected.
    • Ships, yachts and aircraft carry emergency beacons which are activated when they come into contact with water, sending a signal on a reserved frequency that identifies the vessel and its approximate location.


Old English bēacn 'sign, portent, ensign', of West Germanic origin; related to beckon.

More definitions of beacon

Definition of beacon in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day skosh
Pronunciation: skəʊʃ
a small amount; a little