See more synonyms for alarm on
  1. a sudden fear or distressing suspense caused by an awareness of danger; apprehension; fright.
  2. 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.
  3. an automatic device that serves to call attention, to rouse from sleep, or to warn of fire, smoke, an intruder, etc.
  4. a warning sound; signal for attention.
  5. Animal Behavior. any sound, outcry, chemical discharge, action, or other signal that functions to draw attention to a potential predator.
  6. Fencing. an appeal or a challenge made by a step or stamp on the ground with the advancing foot.
  7. Archaic. a call to arms.
verb (used with object)
  1. to make fearful or apprehensive; distress.
  2. to warn of danger; rouse to vigilance and swift measures for safety.
  3. 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

1350–1400; Middle English alarme, alarom < Middle French < Old Italian allarme, noun from phrase all'arme to (the) arms. See arm2
Related formsa·larm·a·ble, adjectivea·larm·ed·ly [uh-lahr-mid-lee] /əˈlɑr mɪd li/, adverbpre·a·larm, verb (used with object), nounun·a·larmed, adjective

Synonyms for alarm

See more synonyms for on

Synonym study

1. See fear. 8. See frighten. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for alarmed

aroused, afraid, anxious, fearful

Examples from the Web for alarmed

Contemporary Examples of alarmed

Historical Examples of alarmed

  • "Don't be alarmed, my dear mother," said Robert, soothingly.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Then, indeed, she had burst upon him with an impetuous despair that had alarmed him.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • "But there wasn't any shot," the perplexed and alarmed detective expostulated.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • And into his thoughts now crept a doubt, one that alarmed his sense of justice.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • But about this time I was alarmed for myself by a slight twinge of jealousy.

British Dictionary definitions for alarmed


verb (tr)
  1. to fill with apprehension, anxiety, or fear
  2. to warn about danger; alert
  3. to fit or activate a burglar alarm on a house, car, etc
  1. fear or terror aroused by awareness of danger; fright
  2. apprehension or uneasinessthe idea of failing filled him with alarm
  3. a noise, signal, etc, warning of danger
  4. any device that transmits such a warninga burglar alarm
    1. the device in an alarm clock that triggers off the bell or buzzer
    2. short for alarm clock
  5. archaic a call to arms
  6. fencing a warning or challenge made by stamping the front foot
Derived Formsalarming, adjectivealarmingly, adverb

Word Origin for alarm

C14: from Old French alarme, from Old Italian all'arme to arms; see arm ²
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 alarmed

"disturbed by prospects of peril," 1640s, past participle adjective from alarm (v.).



1580s, from alarm (n.). Related: Alarmed; 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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with alarmed


see false alarm.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.