Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A warning or alarm, especially a call to arms.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Same as alarm.
  • noun Same as alarm, but now used only in sense 4, except poetically.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Now Poetic See alarm.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A danger signal or warning.
  • noun A call to arms.
  • verb archaic To sound alarums, to sound an alarm.

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

  • noun an automatic signal (usually a sound) warning of danger

Etymologies

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

[Middle English alarom, variant of alarm, alarm; see alarm.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English alarom, from Italian all'arme ("to arms, to the weapons"), from arma, armorum ("weapons")

Examples

  • I'm not trying to ring the alarum bells like Margaret Someville, for whom every advance in medicine and genetics threatens damnation.

    Archive 2009-03-01

  • "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens (1866) This perfectly balanced, beautifully judged story both preys on both the anxiety provoked by the new technology of railways and deeply held beliefs that a ghost can be an alarum for events to follow.

    Kate Mosse's top 10 ghost stories

  • Congress referred this alarum to a committee, and in conference with the Financier decided that still another circular would be pointless.

    Robert Morris

  • On the night of January 3, 1935, the puddlers on Form B-1, at the upstream edge of the dam adjacent to the Arizona cliffside, heard this sinister alarum a split second before a full bucket came careening over the edge of the form.

    Colossus

  • On the night of January 3, 1935, the puddlers on Form B-1, at the upstream edge of the dam adjacent to the Arizona cliffside, heard this sinister alarum a split second before a full bucket came careening over the edge of the form.

    Colossus

  • Congress referred this alarum to a committee, and in conference with the Financier decided that still another circular would be pointless.

    Robert Morris

  • They should make it mandatory for use as telaphone ringtones, car honkifiers and all alarum clocks everywhare.

    IT’S - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

  • Some sounded the alarum, but no one wanted to hear it, so they were run off in shame.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Health bill and gun ownership

  • I'm not trying to ring the alarum bells like Margaret Someville, for whom every advance in medicine and genetics threatens damnation.

    Painful memories

  • This is a fight for life or death — yon waterfall sounds the alarum for our conflict. —

    Anne of Geierstein

Comments

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  • "Music has charms to soothe a savage breast, as Congreve noticed. Music hath alarums to wild the civil breast as well, as Tull Kupferberg pointed out. It is partly a matter of the mode of music, but then as well, something to do with the ears the music exists in."

    - 'Mozic And The Revolution', Germaine Greer in Oz, 1969.

    March 27, 2008