false alarm


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
On average, 75% of tornado warnings in the United States are false alarms. The southeastern United States experiences frequent, short-lived tornadoes and the highest tornado fatalities in the nation.
He was finishing a round of golf in Florida when he was told of Hawaii's false alarm. The president has 46.6 million followers on Twitter, and could have provided quick reassurance to people in Hawaii and on the mainland.
A spokesman for Holyhead Coastguard said the incident was being treated as a "false alarm with good intent".
"But Kilrush RNLI would rather launch to a false alarm, rather than be called out too late to an emergency situation."
On 1 June EgyptAir received a false alarm suggesting that there was a bomb on board flight MS960 heading to Bangkok.
"The call-out was a false alarm due to the activation of an intruder alarm.
This resulted in fire engines being mobilised on blue lights 18,000 times - almost ten a day - to what turned out to be a false alarm.
After weeks of testing and thousands of samples, the customer informed us that the QS-B220 had the lowest false alarm rate out of all of the tested systems.
The new Magic PDM-IXx12/T and PDM-IXx18/T dual motion detectors offer reliable detection of intruders and high false alarm immunity.
The official definition of a false alarm is "a fire signal resulting from a cause other than fire".
PATIENTS and staff at the Jidhafs Health Centre were yesterday evacuated following a false alarm.
The alert prompted a response from Eastbourne and Hastings inshore RNLI lifeboats at around 8.30am this morning - only for them to find it was a false alarm.
"The images from the two cameras [infra-red and RGB] are combined using computer classification software to produce real-time alerts with the lowest possible false alarm rate."