a sudden fear or distressing suspense caused by an awareness of danger; apprehension; fright.
any sound, outcry, or information intended to warn of approaching danger: Paul revere raced through the countryside raising the alarm that the British were coming.
an automatic device that serves to call attention, to rouse from sleep, or to warn of fire, smoke, an intruder, etc.
a warning sound; signal for attention.
Animal Behavior. any sound, outcry, chemical discharge, action, or other signal that functions to draw attention to a potential predator.
Fencing. an appeal or a challenge made by a step or stamp on the ground with the advancing foot.
Archaic. a call to arms.
verb (used with object)
to make fearful or apprehensive; distress.
to warn of danger; rouse to vigilance and swift measures for safety.
to fit or equip with an alarm or alarms, as for fire, smoke, or robbery: to alarm one's house and garage.

1350–1400; Middle English alarme, alarom < Middle French < Old Italian allarme, noun from phrase all'arme to (the) arms. See arm2

alarmable, adjective
alarmedly [uh-lahr-mid-lee] , adverb
prealarm, verb (used with object), noun
unalarmed, adjective

1. consternation; terror, panic. See fear. 8. See frighten. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
alarm (əˈlɑːm)
1.  to fill with apprehension, anxiety, or fear
2.  to warn about danger; alert
3.  to fit or activate a burglar alarm on a house, car, etc
4.  fear or terror aroused by awareness of danger; fright
5.  apprehension or uneasiness: the idea of failing filled him with alarm
6.  a noise, signal, etc, warning of danger
7.  any device that transmits such a warning: a burglar alarm
8.  a.  the device in an alarm clock that triggers off the bell or buzzer
 b.  short for alarm clock
9.  archaic a call to arms
10.  fencing a warning or challenge made by stamping the front foot
[C14: from Old French alarme, from Old Italian all'arme to arms; see arm²]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

early 14c., from O.Fr. alarme, from It. all'arme "to arms!" (lit. "to the arms"). An interjection that came to be used as the word for the call or warning (cf. alert). Extended 16c. to "any sound to warn of danger or to arouse." Weakened sense of "apprehension, unease" is
from 1833. Variant alarum is due to the rolling -r- in the vocalized form. Sometimes in early years Anglicized as all-arm. The verb is 1580s, from the noun.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
air-launched antiradiation missile
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Bible Dictionary

Alarm definition

a particular quivering sound of the silver trumpets to give warning to the Hebrews on their journey through the wilderness (Num. 10:5, 6), a call to arms, or a war-note (Jer. 4:19; 49:2; Zeph. 1:16).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see false alarm.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Door chimes serve as the device's temperature alarm signals.
Forest biologists say that none of those historic specimens have yet been
  afflicted by the outbreak that has caused such alarm.
Others worry that the inevitable increase in dead kangaroos will alarm the
  campers who frequent the island.
We looked at each other with alarm, but to our surprise my brother tried on the
Idioms & Phrases
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