the act or utterance of one who warns or the existence, appearance, sound, etc., of a thing that warns.
something that serves to warn, give notice, or caution: We fired a warning at the intruders.
Meteorology. an announcement from the U.S. National Weather Service alerting the public that a storm or other weather-related hazard is imminent and that immediate steps should be taken to protect lives and property. Compare advisory ( def 5 ), storm warning ( def 2 ), watch ( def 20 ).
serving to warn, advise, caution: a warning bell.

before 900; Middle English (noun); Old English war(e)nung precaution; see warn, -ing1, -ing2

warningly, adverb

2. caution, admonition, advice; omen, sign, portent, augury, presage.
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verb (used with object)
to give notice, advice, or intimation to (a person, group, etc.) of danger, impending evil, possible harm, or anything else unfavorable: They warned him of a plot against him. She was warned that her life was in danger.
to urge or advise to be careful; caution: to warn a careless driver.
to admonish or exhort, as to action or conduct: She warned her employees to be on time.
to notify, advise, or inform: to warn a person of an intended visit.
to give notice to (a person, group, etc.) to go, keep at a distance, etc. (often followed by away, off, etc.): A sign warns trespassers off the grounds. A marker warned boats away from the dock.
to give authoritative or formal notice to (someone); order; summon: to warn a person to appear in court.
verb (used without object)
to give a warning; caution: to warn of further disasters.

before 1000; Middle English warnen, Old English warnian; cognate with German warnen. Cf. ware2

warner, noun
prewarn, verb (used with object)
rewarn, verb (used with object)
unwarned, adjective
well-warned, adjective

1. forewarn. Warn, caution, admonish imply attempting to prevent another from running into danger or getting into unpleasant or undesirable circumstances. To warn is to speak plainly and usually in strong terms: to warn him about danger and possible penalties. To caution is to advise about necessary precautions, to put one on one's guard about possibly harmful circumstances or conditions, thus emphasizing avoidance of undesirable consequences: to caution him against driving in such weather. Admonish suggests giving earnest, authoritative advice with only tacit references to danger or penalty: to admonish a person for neglecting his duties.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
warn (wɔːn)
1.  to notify or make (someone) aware of danger, harm, etc
2.  (tr; often takes a negative and an infinitive) to advise or admonish (someone) as to action, conduct, etc: I warn you not to do that again
3.  (takes a clause as object or an infinitive) to inform (someone) in advance: he warned them that he would arrive late
4.  (tr; usually foll by away, off, etc) to give notice to go away, be off, etc: he warned the trespassers off his ground
[Old English wearnian; related to Old High German warnēn, Old Norse varna to refuse]

warning (ˈwɔːnɪŋ)
1.  a hint, intimation, threat, etc, of harm or danger
2.  advice to beware or desist
3.  an archaic word for notice
4.  (prenominal) intended or serving to warn: a warning look
5.  (of the coloration of certain distasteful or poisonous animals) having conspicuous markings, which predators recognize and learn to avoid; aposematic

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

O.E. warnian "to give notice of impending danger," also intrans., "to take heed," from W.Gmc. *warnojanan (cf. O.N. varna "to admonish," O.H.G. warnon "to take heed," Ger. warnen "to warn"); related to O.E. wær "aware, cautious" (see wary).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Basic early warning systems are being set up in the affected areas.
For years cars have had warning systems to let drivers know when they're about
  to back into something.
Not that long ago, people got little to no warning about hurricanes.
Learn the warning signs of an avalanche before it's triggered.
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