- causing alarm or fear: an alarming case of pneumonia; an alarming lack of respect.
Origin of alarming
- a sudden fear or distressing suspense caused by an awareness of danger; apprehension; fright.
- any sound, outcry, or information intended to warn of approaching danger: Paul Revere raced through the countryside raising the alarm that the British were coming.
- an automatic device that serves to call attention, to rouse from sleep, or to warn of fire, smoke, an intruder, etc.
- a warning sound; signal for attention.
- Animal Behavior. any sound, outcry, chemical discharge, action, or other signal that functions to draw attention to a potential predator.
- Fencing. an appeal or a challenge made by a step or stamp on the ground with the advancing foot.
- Archaic. a call to arms.
- to make fearful or apprehensive; distress.
- to warn of danger; rouse to vigilance and swift measures for safety.
- to fit or equip with an alarm or alarms, as for fire, smoke, or robbery: to alarm one's house and garage.
Origin of alarm
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for alarming
Yesterday morning, my in-box was stuffed to the gunwales with alarming messages alerting me to…to what?Hooray for Liberal Fear-Mongering!
October 28, 2014
As alarming as parents might find those results, Dr. Temple cautions against jumping to any drastic conclusions.Sexting Is the New ‘First Base’
October 9, 2014
Any time there is a new outbreak of infectious disease, it can be alarming.What You Need to Know About Enterovirus
October 3, 2014
I glimpse an alarming, finger-length aluminum baton in her bag.Best Career Arc Ever: From Burlesque To Bartending
September 13, 2014
All of this Ebola activity raises a number of questions, each of them alarming.Is This Ebola's Tipping Point?
August 26, 2014
It hurt him to think that he had only succeeded in alarming her.The Foolish Lovers
St. John G. Ervine
I was seized with a fever, which left me in a state of alarming debility.Tales And Novels, Volume 4 (of 10)
It might, as you have said, be wiser to watch and wait, and to avoid all chance of alarming this man.Henry Dunbar
M. E. Braddon
Everybody looked at Mr Willet, after this alarming suggestion.Barnaby Rudge
On the whole, my reception was not so alarming as I had feared.The Prisoner of Zenda
- to fill with apprehension, anxiety, or fear
- to warn about danger; alert
- to fit or activate a burglar alarm on a house, car, etc
- fear or terror aroused by awareness of danger; fright
- apprehension or uneasinessthe idea of failing filled him with alarm
- a noise, signal, etc, warning of danger
- any device that transmits such a warninga burglar alarm
- the device in an alarm clock that triggers off the bell or buzzer
- short for alarm clock
- archaic a call to arms
- fencing a warning or challenge made by stamping the front foot
Word Origin and History for alarming
early 14c., from Old French alarme (14c.), from Italian all'arme "to arms!" (literally "to the arms"). An interjection that came to be used as the word for the call or warning (cf. alert). Extended 16c. to "any sound to warn of danger or to arouse." Weakened sense of "apprehension, unease" is from 1833. Variant alarum is due to the rolling -r- in the vocalized form. Sometimes in early years anglicized as all-arm. Alarm clock is attested from 1690s (as A Larum clock).
Idioms and Phrases with alarming
see false alarm.