Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A signaling or guiding device, such as a lighthouse, located on a coast.
  • n. A radio transmitter that emits a characteristic guidance signal for aircraft.
  • n. A source of guidance or inspiration.
  • n. A signal fire, especially one used to warn of an enemy's approach.
  • transitive v. To provide with or shine as a beacon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A signal fire to notify of the approach of an enemy, or to give any notice, commonly of warning or guiding.
  • n. A signal or conspicuous mark erected on an eminence near the shore, or moored in shoal water, as a guide to mariners.
  • n. A high hill or other easily distinguishable object near the shore which can serve as guidance for seafarers.
  • n. That which gives notice of danger.
  • v. To act as a beacon.
  • v. To give light to, as a beacon; to light up; to illumine.
  • v. To furnish with a beacon or beacons.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A signal fire to notify of the approach of an enemy, or to give any notice, commonly of warning.
  • n. A signal, such as that from a lighthouse, or a conspicuous mark erected on an eminence near the shore, or moored in shoal water, as a guide to mariners.
  • n. A high hill near the shore.
  • n. That which gives notice of danger.
  • n. a radio transmitter which emits a characteristic signal indication its location, so that vehicles may determine their exact location by locating the beacon with a radio compass; -- also called radio beacon.
  • n. that which provides guidance or inspiration.
  • transitive v. To give light to, as a beacon; to light up; to illumine.
  • transitive v. To furnish with a beacon or beacons.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To illumine or light up as a beacon.
  • To afford light or aid to; lead; guide as a beacon.
  • To furnish or mark with beacons: as, to beacon a coast or a boundary: sometimes with off.
  • To use as a beacon; make a beacon of.
  • To serve or shine as a beacon.
  • n. A guiding or warning signal; anything fixed or set up as a token; especially, a signal-fire, either in a cresset and placed on a pole, or lighted on a tower or an eminence.
  • n. A tower or hill formerly used for such purposes.
  • n. A lighthouse or other object placed conspicuously on a coast, or over a rock or shoal at sea, to give notice of danger, or for the guidance of vessels.
  • n. A painted staff about 9 feet long, carrying a small square flag at the top, used in camps to indicate an angle of the quarters assigned to a regiment or company.
  • n. In England, formerly, a division of a wapentake; probably a district throughout which a beacon could be seen, or which was bound to furnish one.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. shine like a beacon
  • n. a fire (usually on a hill or tower) that can be seen from a distance
  • v. guide with a beacon
  • n. a radio station that broadcasts a directional signal for navigational purposes
  • n. a tower with a light that gives warning of shoals to passing ships

Etymologies

Middle English beken, from Old English bēacen; see bhā-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Middle English beken, from Old English bēacen 'sign, signal', from Proto-Germanic *bauknan (cf. West Frisian beaken 'buoy', Dutch baken 'beacon', Middle High German bouchen 'sign'), perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeh₂u-, *bʰeh₂- (“to shine”). More at fantasy. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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