Word of the Day: Alarm


a-larm / ə-lärm


1. a sudden feeling of fear or danger; apprehension

We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.

James Madison 1751-1836

2. something that alerts or warns of approaching danger

We live in the midst of alarms; anxiety beclouds the future; we expect some new disaster with each newspaper we read.

Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865

3. a device used to warn of danger, awaken, or alert to something

Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.

Ursula K. Le Guin. 1929 – 2018

4. (archaic) a call to arms

He said to his friend, “If the British march

By land or sea from the town to-night,

Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch

Of the North Church tower as a signal light,

One, if by land, and two, if by sea;

And I on the opposite shore will be,

Ready to ride and spread the alarm

Through every Middlesex village and farm,

For the country folk to be up and to arm.

From “Paul Revere’s Ride” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 – 1882


1. to worry or frighten

Evils in the journey of life are like the hills which alarm travelers upon their road; they both appear great at a distance, but when we approach them we find that they are far less insurmountable than we had conceived.

Charles Caleb Colton, 1780 – 1832

2. to provide with a warning; to alert

Even the rustling of leaves will alarm the hare.

Latin Proverb

3. to equip or protect with a device that alerts or warns

The building doors were alarmed with intrusion alarms, and all rooms were equipped with motion detectors.

www.etec.energy.gov/Library/Cleanup_and_Characterization/Soil/HSA/Volume VI HSA-6.pdf, accessed August 9, 2023