distress-signal

distress signal

noun
1.
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 ).
2.
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:
1870–75

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
distress signal
 
n
a signal by radio, Very light, etc from a ship or other vessel in need of immediate assistance

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