- Classical Mythology. one of several sea nymphs, part woman and part bird, who lure mariners to destruction by their seductive singing.
- a seductively beautiful or charming woman, especially one who beguiles men: a siren of the silver screen.
- an acoustical instrument for producing musical tones, consisting essentially of a disk pierced with holes arranged equidistantly in a circle, rotated over a jet or stream of compressed air, steam, or the like, so that the stream is alternately interrupted and allowed to pass.
- an implement of this kind used as a whistle, fog signal, or warning device.
- any of several aquatic, eellike salamanders of the family Sirenidae, having permanent external gills, small forelimbs, and no posterior limbs.
- of or like a siren.
- seductive or tempting, especially dangerously or harmfully: the siren call of adventure.
- to go with the siren sounding, as a fire engine.
- to allure in the manner of a siren.
Origin of siren
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for siren
That song would soon morph from the jaunty clip of the light rail to the siren sounds of jazz.Those Kansas City Blues: A Family History
October 24, 2014
Year after year, our children fall prey to the siren that is heroin.Heroin: America’s Silent Assassin
Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD, Robert M. Lober, MD, PhD
February 3, 2014
Few of us are immune to the siren calls of awesome stuff (or just a better school district for the kids).Ask the Blogger
December 3, 2012
I spent most of the day inwardly bracing myself for the piercing shriek of a siren to break the silence of the city.Overcast With A Chance Of Rockets
Ehud Zion Waldoks
November 23, 2012
Yesterday, denizens of Tel Aviv scrambled for cover when a siren went off around midday.Israel vs. Gaza: a Tale of Two Battlefields
November 17, 2012
There he left the affair, nor ever spoke again of Malpas and the siren who presided there.The Sea-Hawk
"I thank you, dearest dear," cooed the siren, caressing him tenderly.
"Ah, you say you do, yet you refuse to do as I wish you," sorrowfully replied the siren.
Within an hour the morning siren would arouse the passengers.
Marc Polder had faded back into the crowd at the first sound of the siren.This One Problem
M. C. Pease
- a device for emitting a loud wailing sound, esp as a warning or signal, typically consisting of a rotating perforated metal drum through which air or steam is passed under pressure
- (sometimes capital) Greek myth one of several sea nymphs whose seductive singing was believed to lure sailors to destruction on the rocks the nymphs inhabited
- a woman considered to be dangerously alluring or seductive
- (as modifier)her siren charms
- any aquatic eel-like salamander of the North American family Sirenidae, having external gills, no hind limbs, and reduced forelimbs
Word Origin and History for siren
mid-14c., "sea nymph who by her singing lures sailors to their destruction," from Old French sereine (12c., Modern French sirène) and directly from Latin Siren (Late Latin Sirena), from Greek Seiren ["Odyssey," xii.39 ff.], one of the Seirenes, mythical sisters who enticed sailors to their deaths with their songs, also in Greek "a deceitful woman," perhaps literally "binder, entangler," from seira "cord, rope."
Meaning "device that makes a warning sound" (on an ambulance, etc.) first recorded 1879, in reference to steamboats, perhaps from similar use of the French word. Figurative sense of "one who sings sweetly and charms" is recorded from 1580s. The classical descriptions of them were mangled in medieval translations and glosses, resulting in odd notions of what they looked like.