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

  • noun A device in which compressed air or steam is driven against a rotating perforated disk to create a loud, often wailing sound as a signal or warning.
  • noun An electronic device producing a similar sound as a signal or warning.
  • noun Any of several slender aquatic salamanders of the family Sirenidae of eastern North America, having external gills, small forelimbs, and no hind limbs.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A monster without lower extremities.
  • noun Same as sympus.
  • noun In Greek myth, one of two, three, or an indeterminate number of seanymphs who by their singing fascinated those who sailed by their island, and then destroyed them.
  • noun A mermaid.
  • noun A charming, alluring, or enticing woman; a woman dangerous from her arts of fascination.
  • noun One who sings sweetly.
  • noun A fabulous creature having the form of a winged serpent.
  • noun In herpetology: Any member of the Sirenidæ.
  • noun A Linnean genus of amphibians, now restricted as the type of the family Sirenidæ. Also Sirene.
  • noun One of the Sirenia, as the manatee, dugong, halicore, or sea-cow; any sirenian.
  • noun An acoustical instrument consisting essentially of a wooden or metallic disk, pierced with holes equidistantly arranged in a circle, which can be revolved over a jet of compressed air or steam so as to produce periodic puffs.
  • noun An apparatus for testing woods and metals to ascertain their sonorous qualities.
  • noun In heraldry, the representation of a mermaid, used as a bearing.
  • Pertaining to or characteristic of a siren; dangerously alluring; fascinating; bewitching.

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

  • adjective Of or pertaining to a siren; bewitching, like a siren; fascinating; alluring.
  • noun (Class. Myth.) One of three sea nymphs, -- or, according to some writers, of two, -- said to frequent an island near the coast of Italy, and to sing with such sweetness that they lured mariners to destruction.
  • noun An enticing, dangerous woman.
  • noun Something which is insidious or deceptive.
  • noun obsolete A mermaid.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Any long, slender amphibian of the genus Siren or family Sirenidæ, destitute of hind legs and pelvis, and having permanent external gills as well as lungs. They inhabit the swamps, lagoons, and ditches of the Southern United States. The more common species (Siren lacertina) is dull lead-gray in color, and becames two feet long.
  • noun (Acoustics) An instrument for producing musical tones and for ascertaining the number of sound waves or vibrations per second which produce a note of a given pitch. The sounds are produced by a perforated rotating disk or disks. A form with two disks operated by steam or highly compressed air is used sounding an alarm to vessels in fog.

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

  • noun original sense (Greek mythology) One of a group of nymphs who lured mariners to their death on the rocks.
  • noun A device, either mechanical or electronic, that makes a piercingly loud sound as an alarm or signal, or the sound from such a device.
  • noun A dangerously seductive woman.
  • noun A common name for salamanders of Siren and Sirenidae.
  • noun A common name for mammals of Sirenia.
  • adjective Relating to or like a siren.

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

  • noun eellike aquatic North American salamander with small forelimbs and no hind limbs; have permanent external gills
  • noun a sea nymph (part woman and part bird) supposed to lure sailors to destruction on the rocks where the nymphs lived
  • noun an acoustic device producing a loud often wailing sound as a signal or warning
  • noun a woman who is considered to be dangerously seductive
  • noun a warning signal that is a loud wailing sound


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

[French sirène, from Old French sereine, Siren, from Late Latin Sīrēna, from Latin Sīrēn, from Greek Seirēn.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, itself from Middle French sereine (itself from Late Latin sirena) and from Latin Sīrēn, ultimately from Ancient Greek Σειρήν (Seirēn).


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  • "See Harpy monument (under harpy), and compare cut under embolon." --CD&C

    May 24, 2012

  • Siren = lure vs. siren = warn away. Autoantonym

    January 27, 2015

  • Well spotted.

    January 28, 2015