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sound the alarm

1. Literally, to activate an alarm. I think I see smoke coming from the warehouse. Someone run upstairs and sound the alarm!
2. To alert other people about something dangerous, risky, or troublesome. A number of top economic advisors tried to sound the alarm before the economic crash, but no policy makers seemed to heed their warnings.
See also: alarm, sound

sounding board

A person or group with whom one discusses an idea, plan, or suggestion in order to evaluate its strengths, acceptability, feasibility, practicality, etc. My friend John and I really know each other's skills and interests, so whenever one of us has an idea for a new project, we use the other as a sounding board.
See also: board, sounding

take soundings

To ask questions in order to learn people's opinions about a certain topic. I'm taking soundings to find out what people want to read about in the student newspaper.
See also: sounding, take
References in classic literature ?
Now there is a solemn hush, which we have brought from home with what is resting in the mould; and while we stand bareheaded, I hear the voice of the clergyman, sounding remote in the open air, and yet distinct and plain, saying: 'I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord
All save two, my brother," comes the answer, sounding above the clash of steel and the sound of smitten shields.
Vancouver," "Labrador," "The White Mountains," the very names, thus casually mentioned on a Surrey heath, seemed full of the sounding sea.
He spake: and to confirm his words, out-flew Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze Far round illumin'd hell: highly they rag'd Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arm's Clash'd on their sounding shields the din of war, Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heav'n.
Then I myself such was my purpose had, on the sounding of the trumpet, appeared in the lists as thy champion, disguised indeed in the fashion of a roving knight, who seeks adventures to prove his shield and spear; and then, let Beaumanoir have chosen not one, but two or three of the brethren here assembled, I had not doubted to cast them out of the saddle with my single lance.
I hear a gong sounding, to remind me of the fight of time and the value of your share of it.