Definitions

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

  • noun A signal fire, especially one used to warn of an enemy's approach.
  • noun A signaling or guiding device that emits light, such as a lighthouse.
  • noun A radio transmitter that emits a characteristic guidance signal for aircraft.
  • noun A signaling device that emits a repeating sound; a pinger.
  • noun A source of guidance or inspiration.
  • transitive & intransitive verb To provide with or signal as a beacon.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A tower or hill formerly used for such purposes.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • 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.

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

  • noun A signal fire to notify of the approach of an enemy, or to give any notice, commonly of warning.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Prov. Eng. A high hill near the shore.
  • noun That which gives notice of danger.
  • noun (Navigation) 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.
  • noun that which provides guidance or inspiration.
  • noun a signal fire.
  • transitive verb To give light to, as a beacon; to light up; to illumine.
  • transitive verb To furnish with a beacon or beacons.

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

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English beken, from Old English bēacen; see bhā- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Examples

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