Definition of alarm in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈlɑːm/


[mass noun]
1An anxious awareness of danger: the boat tilted and the boatmen cried out in alarm he views the right-wing upsurge in Europe with alarm
More example sentences
  • 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.
fear, anxiety, apprehension, trepidation, nervousness, unease, distress, agitation, consternation, disquiet, perturbation, fright, panic, dread, horror, shock, terror
1.1 [in singular] A warning of danger: I hammered on several doors to raise the alarm Oliver smelled smoke and gave the alarm
More example sentences
  • 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.
siren, warning sound, alarm signal, danger signal, distress signal, alert;
warning device, alarm bell, bell, horn, whistle;
red light, red flag
archaic tocsin
1.2 [count noun] A warning sound or device: they disabled the alarm and used a glass cutter to get in
More example sentences
  • 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.
1.3 [count noun] An alarm clock: I set my alarm for 6:30
More example sentences
  • 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.


1 [with object] Make (someone) feel frightened, disturbed, or in danger: the government was alarmed by an outbreak of unrest
More example sentences
  • 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.
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
informal put the wind up someone, rattle, spook, scare the living daylights out of
frightening, startling, unnerving, shocking, hair-raising;
distressing, upsetting, disconcerting, perturbing, dismaying, disquieting, daunting, disturbing, harrowing;
fearsome, dreadful, monstrous, forbidding, appalling, chilling, terrifying, petrifying
informal scary
2 (be alarmed) Be fitted or protected with an alarm: this door is locked and alarmed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
More example sentences
  • 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.


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

  • Alarm started out as an exclamation meaning ‘to arms!’; it stems from Old French alarme, from the Italian phrase all' arme! ‘to arms!’. The spelling alarum existed in English in early times because of the way the ‘r’ was rolled when pronouncing the word; this form became restricted specifically to the peal of a warning bell or clock. The original exclamation as a call to arms, is seen in the phrase alarums and excursions, a stage direction found in Shakespeare's Henry VI and Richard III.

Words that rhyme with alarm

arm, Bairam, balm, barm, becalm, calm, charm, embalm, farm, forearm, Guam, harm, imam, ma'am, malm, Montcalm, Notre-Dame, palm, psalm, qualm, salaam, smarm

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