alert

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alert the authorities

1. Literally, to contact those in charge of security or law enforcement. Often used as an imperative. Citizens have been asked to alert the authorities if they notice any suspicious activity around the city during the event. The secret agent alerted the authorities in his home country to the danger of a possible foreign attack. I'm afraid I have to alert the authorities, son. You're a wanted man.
2. humorous Used sarcastically to indicate that some wrongdoing or outrage is not actually significant or worth getting upset over. A: "Hey, someone took half of my sandwich out of the communal fridge!" B: "Oh no, someone alert the authorities!" So your grievance is that the company refused to completely refund you after you'd been using their product for nearly 13 months? Well, guess we'll have to alert the authorities then, huh? A: "What was Camille telling you?" B: "Oh, just that some guy on the phone wasn't very nice to her. Alert the authorities, right?"
See also: alert, authority

alert the public

To bring something to the attention of the public at large, especially as a warning of some kind. The purpose of her video was to alert the public to the risks of eating too much sugar. We want to alert the public that the business will be moving to a new location at the end of the month. We have alerted the public to the safety issues with the car seat, and a recall is underway.
See also: alert, public

be on full alert

To be very attentive and ready to take action. This term is often applied to soldiers. We're safe here—the soldiers patrolling the border are on full alert. As soon as I heard my window break in the middle of the night, I was on full alert to fight off an intruder.
See also: alert, full, on

be on red alert

To be very attentive and ready to take action. This term is often applied to soldiers. We're safe here—the soldiers patrolling the border are on red alert. As soon as I heard my window break in the middle of the night, I was on red alert to fight off an intruder.
See also: alert, on, red

nerd alert

interjection, slang An exclamation when someone is behaving in way deemed "nerdy," that is, uncool and eccentric, typically owing to being passionate or obsessive about niche, unpopular, or technical pursuits. You want us to play Dungeons and Dragons on a Friday night? Nerd alert! We're going out drinking! I'd like to alphabetize and color-code the new files before we add them to the application. Nerd alert, I know.
See also: alert, nerd

on red alert

In the highest possible state of readiness to address or prepare for some imminent danger, threat, trouble, or difficulty. The soldiers patrolling the border are on red alert. As soon as I heard my window break in the middle of the night, I was on red alert to fight off an intruder.
See also: alert, on, red

on the alert

Particularly watchful, attentive, or prepared (for something). Security personnel are on the alert for anyone carrying suspicious-looking packages or behaving strangely. We've been on the alert ever since we heard there had been a string of burglaries in our part of town.
See also: alert, on

red alert

1. The highest possible state of readiness to address or prepare for some imminent danger, threat, trouble, or difficulty. As soon as I heard my window break in the middle of the night, I was on red alert to fight off an intruder.
2. A warning to prepare for some imminent danger, threat, trouble, or difficulty. The president issued a nationwide red alert following warnings of a foreign invasion.
See also: alert, red

Silver Alert

A public alert issued in the United States to help locate a missing senior citizen, especially one who has dementia. It is similar to the Amber Alert system that exists to help locate missing children. "Silver" is a term often associated with senior citizens, referring to gray or white hair. Does anyone know if they found the man from this morning's Silver Alert?
See also: alert, silver

spoiler alert

slang
1. A warning that something divulges a secret or surprise about a piece of media and thus could potentially ruin the experience for someone. Sometimes used as an exclamation or interjection. I've done my best to avoid spoiling surprises in my review, but I've added a spoiler alert near the end when I discuss some plot elements in more detail. A: "I thought the film was good overall, but finding out the protagonist was the killer all along was so jarring." B: "Whoa, spoiler alert, dude!"
2. interjection Used sarcastically to highlight that something is not at all surprising. The book is as hackneyed as you can get, a boilerplate story of good versus evil. Spoiler alert—good wins.
See also: alert, spoiler
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

alert someone

to something to make someone aware of trouble or potential trouble. The auditors alerted us to some problems with the accounts.

on the alert (for someone or something)

watchful and attentive for someone or something. Be on the alert for pickpockets. You should be on the alert when you cross the street in heavy traffic.
See also: alert, on
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

on the alert

Watchful, fully prepared, as in The inspectors are always on the alert for a manufacturing error. [Late 1700s]
See also: alert, on
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

on ˌred aˈlert

prepared for an emergency or for something dangerous to happen: Following the bomb blast, local hospitals have been put on red alert.
See also: alert, on, red
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

on the alert

Watchful and prepared for danger, emergency, or opportunity: bird watchers on the alert for a rare species.
See also: alert, on
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The Army Chief said we continue to maintain required state of alertness and preparedness on our Eastern Border adding 'There are still challenges facing Pakistan but not as much as we have passed through in recent past.
First, we must understand what drug tests are intended to measure or discover, because alertness testing and drug testing provide different information.
During night shift: Stay active, take naps of 10-20 minutes in the shift, drink coffee before napping and no more, build in checks during critical tasks for lowered alertness.
Caffeine's well-documented physiological effect on alertness originates from its actions as an antagonist of adenosine receptors in the brain.
Boeing alertness model tools use scientific principles to guide fatigue risk management and alertness of crew members.
This study seeks to contribute to the continuous efforts of research on opportunity identification, that is, a model that suggests the effect that two individual variables (entrepreneurial passion and creativity) have on entrepreneurial alertness. Specifically, the model suggests that the entrepreneurial passion of a person is related to creativity, and that this in turn is related to entrepreneurial alertness.
He also affirmed that GAC would continue to fully support its employees and raise their level of alertness through various professional training courses.
As a basic schema, entrepreneurial alertness refers to the capacity to recognize existing opportunities, such as those emerging from changes in technology, markets, government policies, and competition (Dew, Read, Sarasvathy, & Wiltbank, 2009; Tang et al., 2012).
TEHRAN (FNA)- Use of a light-emitting electronic device (LE-eBook) in the hours before bedtime can adversely impact overall health, alertness, and the circadian clock which synchronizes the daily rhythm of sleep to external environmental time cues.
It argues that there is a logical problem with the notion of profit opportunities as exogenous causal agents: Without additional assumptions, the existence of opportunities alone does not sufficiently explain the alertness of entrepreneurs.
The manufacturer of the drug, marketed as Lunesta, was required to change the starting dose recommendation because of evidence that levels of the drug "in some patients may be high enough the morning after use to impair activities that require alertness, including driving, even if they feel fully awake," the FDA statement said.
A new study from the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute shows that exposure to certain wavelengths and levels of light have the potential to increase alertness during the post-lunch dip.
The study builds on previous research which has demonstrated the benefits of chewing gum on alertness and people's ability to complete tasks.