alarm

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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

five-alarm fire

1. A fire that is so large or intense that it requires the presence of many firefighting units to try to contain it. A five-alarm fire is the reason we heard all of those sirens last night
2. Someone or something that is very intense or stressful. Boy, this project has really become a five-alarm fire with all the other problems it's created.
See also: fire

three-alarm fire

1. A fire that is so large or intense that it requires the presence of many firefighting units to try to contain it. A three-alarm fire is the reason we heard all of those sirens last night
2. Someone or something that is very intense or stressful. Boy, this project has really become a three-alarm fire with all the other problems it's created.
See also: fire

I don't want to alarm you, but

A phrase used before sharing bad news (which is stated after "but"). I don't want to alarm you, but the printer called about a few problems with our latest issue. I don't want to alarm you, but the dog has been limping around all day—I think we need to take him to the vet tonight.
See also: alarm, but, want

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 ?
Smart Signal is a key enhancement to the Alarm.com service, giving property owners a faster way to communicate critical information directly to their monitoring station.
Researchers at the ETH have now developed a method of machine learning in collaboration with colleagues at the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit of the University Hospital in Zurich to reduce such false alarms. "In order for the computer to learn, people usually have to judge a certain number of alarms as relevant or non-relevant," explains Walter Karlen, professor of mobile health systems at the ETH.
Smoke alarms are obviously important for preventing these deaths, yet many young children, who tend to sleep more soundly than adults, don't wake up to traditional high-pitch tone alarms, the researchers say.
In addition to Guardian, One Stop Bedwetting also carries several popular, doctor recommend alarms including Chummie, Shield, Smart, NewU and Zest.
Landlords are required to provide smoke alarms near all bedroom entrances and inside every bedroom, with at least one alarm on every floor of every living unit.
Traditionally, BAS alarms are transmitted to building operators without sufficient actionable information.
In the second study, researchers from Maimonides Medical Center analyzed the accuracy of cardiac monitor alarms in the intensive care unit (ICU) using the hospital's standard protocol.
There is a wide variety of smoke alarms on the market - everywhere from DIY superstores to online specialists - costing from under a tenner to more than PS100 each.
Unfortunately, monitoring devices are also notorious for causing excessive nuisance alarms and constant noise that result in failure to detect true changes in patient status (Bonafide et al., 2015).
THE DECISION on which alarm level to call during a fire initially depends on the assessment of the Fire Ground Commander who heads the substation which has jurisdiction over of the area.
Smoke alarms are vital at all times and even more vital during the winter months when there are generally more fire hazards in the home.
For process plants and gas pipeline networks, it is essential to manage change when making modifications to alarms and alarm systems.
Smoke alarms in new homes are required to be hardwired and interconnected, but now you can get the same protection in your old house with smoke alarms like this one that speak to one another wirelessly.
The use of clinical alarms in high risk areas such as labor and delivery is mandated by regulatory agencies (Jo & Paul, 2012).