[ uh-lahrm ]
/ əˈlɑrm /
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See synonyms for: alarm / alarmed / alarming / alarmable on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
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Origin of alarm

1350–1400; Middle English alarme, alarom<Middle French <Old Italian allarme, noun from phrase all'arme to (the) arms. See arm2

synonym study for alarm

1. See fear. 8. See frighten.


a·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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does alarmed mean?

Alarmed describes a feeling of fear or great worry, as in Qiang was alarmed by the sudden appearance of a ghost in the hallway. 

Someone who is alarmed is aware that something bad might happen and is worried or fearful about it.

Alarmed is also a past tense form of alarm, meaning to warn of danger or cause fear.

Example: I was quite alarmed after you sent that text and didn’t respond.

Where does alarmed come from?

The first records of the term alarmed come from around 1518. It combines alarm, meaning “to make fearful,” and the suffix ed, which turns verbs into adjectives that indicate a condition or quality that results from the action of the verb.

You might hear the phrase no need to be alarmed or do not be alarmed. These phrases are used when something seems alarming but is not actually something to worry about. For example, when the Emergency Broadcast System is being tested over the radio, the announcer will explain that when you hear the tone, you shouldn’t be alarmed because it’s only a test.

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What are some other forms related to alarmed?

  • alarmedly (adverb)
  • unalarmed (adjective)

What are some synonyms for alarmed?

What are some words that share a root or word element with alarmed?

What are some words that often get used in discussing alarmed?

How is alarmed used in real life?

Alarmed is used to describe a feeling of fear or intense worry.


Try using alarmed!

Is alarmed used correctly in the following sentence?

Hassam was so alarmed about his sister’s wedding that he wept tears of joy.

How to use alarm in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for alarm

/ (əˈlɑːm) /

verb (tr)

Derived forms of alarm

alarming, 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with alarm


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.