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distress signal

a signal used, or designed to be used, by persons in peril, for the purpose of summoning aid, indicating their position, etc., as a radio code sign, aerial flare, flag hoist, or the like.
Compare distress call (def 1).
an indication, especially a nonverbal one, that assistance, cooperation, or the like, is needed:
He correctly interpreted the host's upturned eyes as a distress signal and hastily changed the subject.
Origin of distress signal
1870-75 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for distress signal
  • We were rudely shaken from these rosy dreams by a distress signal from the bike.
  • The universal distress signal for choking is grabbing the throat with the hand.
  • The direct cause is a chemical distress signal produced in skin that is damaged by another hazard of modern life: eczema.
  • Computer simulations suggest the distress signal should still be capable of being detected.
  • Visual distress signal stowage, serviceability, marking stowed.
  • Try to leave a distress signal, such as a scarf, hanging from the window.
  • It is a device that can be automatically or manually activated to transmit a distress signal to a satellite.
  • Consider finding a code word to use as a distress signal to family members, children, and friends.
British Dictionary definitions for distress signal

distress signal

a signal by radio, Very light, etc from a ship or other vessel in need of immediate assistance
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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