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Old English beacen "sign, portent, lighthouse," from West Germanic *baukna "beacon, signal" (cf. Old Frisian baken, Old Saxon bokan, Old High German bouhhan); not found outside Germanic. Perhaps borrowed from Latin bucina "a crooked horn or trumpet, signal horn." But more likely from PIE *bhew-, a variant of the base *bha- "to gleam, shine" (see phantasm). Figurative use from c.1600.
a pole (Heb. to'ren) used as a standard or ensign set on the tops of mountains as a call to the people to assemble themselves for some great national purpose (Isa. 30:17). In Isa. 33:23 and Ezek. 27:5, the same word is rendered "mast." (See Banner.)
city, Dutchess county, southeastern New York, U.S. It lies at the foot of Mount Beacon, on the east bank of the Hudson River (there bridged to Newburgh), 58 miles (93 km) north of New York City. It became a city when the 17th-century villages of Matteawan and Fishkill Landing were united in 1913. The name was inspired by the fires that blazed atop Mount Beacon during the American Revolution to warn George Washington of British troop movements; the mountain was later a resort, and the Mount Beacon Incline Railway (operated 1901-72) ascended its west spur (1,540 feet [469 metres] above the river). Industrialization began after the War of 1812 when businessman John Jacob Astor and others built a cotton mill and foundry. Manufactures include clothing, hats, countertops, and rubber fabricated products; the city also is the home of one of the world's largest art foundries. Madam Brett Homestead (1709) in Beacon and Van Wyck Homestead (1732; site of courts-martial during the American Revolution) in nearby Fishkill are preserved as museums. Pop. (1990) 13,243; (2000) 13,808.