Definition of alert in English:


Line breaks: alert
Pronunciation: /əˈləːt



[mass noun] Back to top  
  • 1The state of being watchful for possible danger: security forces are on the alert for an upsurge in violence
    More example sentences
    • The main north-south highway was reopened on Thursday but motorists were urged to remain on alert against possible dangers caused by the continuing heavy rains.
    • And now, as his execution by lethal injection nears, some clinics providing abortions are on alert for possible violence.
    • But the industry was put on alert about the possible tax rises at a conference this month when a representative from the Revenue said the memoranda would need to be reviewed.
  • 1.1 [count noun] An announcement or signal warning of danger: a bomb alert
    More example sentences
    • A flood alert was sounded in Kinnaur, Shimla, Kulu and Mandi districts last evening after water started overflowing from the lake, bringing along a lot of silt.
    • The all-clear had in fact sounded from an initial alert when the bomb was dropped.
    • The Environment Agency issued flood alerts for several rivers and part of the A12 was sealed off.
    warning, caution, notification, notice, exhortation, injunction; siren, alarm, signal, danger signal, distress signal
  • 1.2 [count noun] A period of vigilance following a warning of danger: traffic was halted during the alert
    More example sentences
    • The country is on a war alert following terrorist attacks on its Parliament building.
    • The incident follows a similar alert at a post office earlier this week.
    • Thousands of holidaymakers who lost luggage following the airport security alert earlier this month are unlikely to be able to claim compensation from their insurers, it emerged last week.
  • 1.3 [count noun] A signal on an electronic device that prompts the user to do something or attracts their attention: a vibrating alert is a discreet alternative to ringtones
    More example sentences
    • It took a little getting used to, but after a while, I realised I was back in Singapore, where it doesn't matter if phones ring or SMS alerts beep loudly on the trains.
    • For example, certain software programs allow users to send e-mail alerts.
    • This software can now, for example, send out a real-time alert to Outlook users when it picks up on an appointment conflict.


[with object] Back to top  
  • Warn (someone) of a danger or problem: he alerted people to the dangers of smoking police were alerted after three men drove away without paying
    More example sentences
    • Wenger did the game a service by alerting us to the dangers.
    • Surely it would make more sense to put up an advert outside a football ground alerting men to the dangers of testicular or prostate cancer?
    • A pensioner is lucky to be alive after her dog alerted her to the danger of a fire at her home
    warn, notify, apprise, caution, put on one's guard, forewarn, put on the qui vive, arouse
    informal tip off, clue in, put in the picture, put wise



More example sentences
  • Both Aaron and Ryan moved carefully and alertly, and Ryan had his sword drawn.
  • An original thinker always alertly attuned to contemporary culture, he was admired for his intellectual style and the felicity with which he expressed his ideas in his many books and articles.
  • Thankfully, however, the deer do wise up quickly, alertly scanning their surroundings for different sounds or a hint of movement that wasn't there the day before.


late 16th century (originally in military use): from French alerte, from Italian all' erta 'to the watchtower'.

More definitions of alert

Definition of alert in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day maelstrom
Pronunciation: ˈmālˌsträm
a powerful whirlpool in the sea