alarm


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Related to alarm: Alarm clocks
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alarm bell

A sudden warning or intimation of danger, risk, or ill fortune. (Often pluralized.) Alarm bells were going off in my head when I saw the panicked expression on her face.
See also: alarm, bell

cause for alarm

A reason to be worried, frightened, or concerned about something. The X-ray showed a slight discoloration in my lungs, but my doctor assured me it was no cause for alarm. There was cause for alarm when we noticed our boss shredding all the files in her office.
See also: alarm, cause

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

raise the alarm

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

alarms and excursions

Frantic activity that causes a clamor. Often seen in Elizabethan drama as a stage direction denoting military activity. What on earth is going on? The alarms and excursions in the living room woke me from a sound sleep—keep it down!
See also: alarm, and, excursion

false alarm

A benign situation initially mistaken for an emergency. Mary thought she was going into labor, but it turned out to be a false alarm. When the smoke detectors started beeping, we thought the building was on fire, but it was just a false alarm caused by faulty wiring.
See also: alarm, false

set alarm bells ringing

To cause concern due to being an indication that there is something wrong. The new report set alarm bells ringing among the board members because it forecasts a large decrease in enrollment. If your date asks you to meet in a secluded place, it should set alarm bells ringing.
See also: alarm, bell, ring, set

set off alarm bells

To cause concern due to being an indication that there is something wrong. The new report set off alarm bells among the board members because it forecasts a large decrease in enrollment. If your date asks you to meet in a secluded place, it should set off alarm bells.
See also: alarm, bell, off, set

alarm bells start ringing

Some issue indicates that one should be concerned about a potentially greater problem or troubling situation. Alarm bells started ringing among the board members when sales continued to decline for the second straight If your date asks you to meet in a secluded place, alarm bells should start ringing.
See also: alarm, bell, ring, start

alarm bells start to ring

Some issue indicates that one should be concerned about a potentially greater problem or troubling situation. Alarm bells started to ring among the board members when sales continued to decline for the second straight If your date asks you to meet in a secluded place, alarm bells should start to ring.
See also: alarm, bell, ring, start

I don't want to alarm you, but

 and I don't want to upset you, but
an expression used to introduce bad or shocking news or gossip. Bill: I don't want to alarm you, but I see someone prowling around your car. Mary: Oh, goodness! I'll call the police! Bob: I don't want to upset you, but I have some bad news. Tom: Let me have it.
See also: alarm, but, want

false alarm

A warning signal that is groundless, made either by mistake or as a deliberate deception. For example, The rumor that we were all going to get fired was just a false alarm, or Setting off a false alarm is a criminal offense. This expression, first recorded in 1579, today is often used for a report of a nonexistent fire.
See also: alarm, false

alarm bells start to ring

COMMON If alarm bells start to ring, you begin to be aware of a problem in a situation. It was when the headaches suddenly got a lot worse that alarm bells started to ring. Note: You can also say something sets alarm bells ringing, meaning that something makes you start to be aware of a problem. His absence from work for three days had set alarm bells ringing. Note: You can also say warning bells start to ring. He didn't understand the half of it but warning bells were starting to ring in the back of his mind. Note: You can also say something sets warning bells ringing meaning that something makes you start to be aware of a problem. There was something in the way she spoke that set warning bells ringing in Brak's head.
See also: alarm, bell, ring, start

alarms and excursions

confused activity and uproar. humorous
Alarm was formerly spelled alarum , representing a pronunciation with a rolling of the ‘r’; the phrase was originally a call summoning soldiers to arms. The whole phrase is used in stage directions in Shakespeare to indicate a battle scene.
See also: alarm, and, excursion

a false aˈlarm

a warning of something, especially something unpleasant or dangerous, which does not in fact happen: They thought the packet contained a bomb but it was a false alarm.
See also: alarm, false

a three-alarm fire

and a five-alarm fire
n. someone or something very exciting. Work was a nightmare today. A five-alarm fire with crisis after crisis.
See also: fire

a five-alarm fire

verb
See also: fire
References in periodicals archive ?
Digital thermistor units range from handheld to panel-mounted meters with alarm capabilities and accuracies of [+ or -] 2[degrees] F.
Plug the harness into the new alarm, stuff the wires into the box and mount the alarm on the plate.
Local Law 7 requiring carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in New York City (NYC) residential dwellings, schools and hospitals went into effect on Nov.
SIAC initiated OTIS by bringing together representatives of the alarm industry to review the feasibility of creating a centralized database.
Enhanced call verification, which requires the alarm company to attempt to contact a homeowner at more than one telephone number before dispatching the police call.
However, the systems don't distinguish what crosses the beam, so the occasional raccoon scuttling through the pool area may set off the alarm.
The WatchMate[R] system from Xmark provides comprehensive protection for Alzheimer's sufferers or others at risk of wandering, with such essential features as individual identification of each alarm, resident ID display, and outdoor protection capabilities.
Rainey monitored hornbills before and after playing recordings of monkey alarm calls.
Some long term care facilities have been known to engage in a dangerous and illegal practice of purchasing personal alarms from local vendors and converting them into pull string, patient fall monitors to save money.
Salt Lake City law enforcement officials concluded that police response to an alarm signal only made sense if some eyewitness could first verify the signal that the alarm may indeed be valid.
Best practices, according to the guide, include requiring alarm companies to visually verify alarm legitimacy before calling police and charging a fee for service for all false holdup, duress, and panic alarms, as Salt Lake City, Utah, does.
However, in highly complex systems, the problem of providing operators with complete sets of prescribed procedures to handle every alarm combination could grow exponentially.
Alarm fatigue happens when staff "tune out" the background sounds, and can negatively impact patient safety and potentially lead to life-threatening events.
In addition, we remind Tennesseans that any smoke alarm 10 years old or older should be replaced entirely.