• enPR: sĭgʹnəl, IPA: /ˈsɪɡnəl/

signal (plural signals)

  1. A sequence of states representing an encoded message in a communication channel.
  2. Any variation of a quantity or change in an entity over time that conveys information upon detection.
  3. A sign made to give notice of some occurrence, command, or danger, or to indicate the start of a concerted action.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book V”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      All obeyed / The wonted signal and superior voice / Of this great potentate.
  4. An on-off light, semaphore, or other device used to give an indication to another person.
  5. (of a radio, TV, telephone, internet, etc.) An electromagnetic action, normally a voltage that is a function of time, that conveys the information of the radio or TV program or of communication with another party.
    My mobile phone can't get a signal in the railway station.
  6. An action, change or process done to convey information and thus reduce uncertainty.
    He whistled to signal that we should stop.
  7. A token; an indication; a foreshadowing; a sign.
    • c. 1593, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act V, scene iii]:
      The weary sun […] / Gives signal of a goodly day to-morrow.
    • There was not the least signal of the calamity to be seen.
  8. Useful information, as opposed to noise.
  9. (computing, Unix) A simple interprocess communication used to notify a process or thread of an occurrence.
  10. (biochemistry) A signalling interaction between cells
  • (useful information) noise
Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

signal (signals, present participle signalling; past and past participle signalled)

  1. (ambitransitive) To indicate; to convey or communicate by a signal.
    I signalled my acquiescence with a nod.
  2. (transitive) To communicate with (a person or system) by a signal.
    Seeing the flames, he ran to the control room and signalled headquarters.
Translations Adjective

signal (not comparable)

  1. Standing above others in rank, importance, or achievement.
    a signal exploit; a signal service; a signal act of benevolence
    • 1671, John Milton, “Samson Agonistes, […]”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey […], OCLC 228732398 ↗, [{page}/mode/1up page 27]:
      As ſignal now in low dejected ſtate, / As earſt in higheſt, behold him where he lies.
Synonyms Related terms

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