- an apparatus for conveying information by means of visual signals, as a light whose position may be changed.
- any of various devices for signaling by changing the position of a light, flag, etc.
- a system of signaling, especially a system by which a special flag is held in each hand and various positions of the arms indicate specific letters, numbers, etc.
- to signal by semaphore or by some system of flags.
Origin of semaphore
1810–20; < Greek sêma sign + -phore
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for semaphore
And again, with slow-moving white arms she began to semaphore.Tarrano the Conqueror
Raymond King Cummings
Each company had been teaching all the men the semaphore code.The Red Watch
J. A. Currie
"I jess was looking at that thing," she said bashfully, pointing to the semaphore.
"That semaphore dodge is too precious to be lost," cried Enid.The Pillar of Light
Semaphore the convoy and report that the men have been picked up.A Lively Bit of the Front
Percy F. Westerman
- an apparatus for conveying information by means of visual signals, as with movable arms or railway signals, flags, etc
- a system of signalling by holding a flag in each hand and moving the arms to designated positions to denote each letter of the alphabet
- to signal (information) by means of semaphore
C19: via French, from Greek sēma a signal + -phore
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for semaphore
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper