[ bee-kuhn ]
/ ˈbi kən /


verb (used with object)

to serve as a beacon to; warn or guide.
to furnish or mark with beacons: a ship assigned to beacon the shoals.

verb (used without object)

to serve or shine as a beacon: A steady light beaconed from the shore.

Nearby words

  1. beachscape,
  2. beachside,
  3. beachwear,
  4. beachy,
  5. beachy head,
  6. beacon hill,
  7. beacon school,
  8. beacon status,
  9. beaconage,
  10. beaconsfield

Origin of beacon

before 950; Middle English beken, Old English bēacen sign, signal; cognate with Old Frisian bāken, Old Saxon bōkan, Old High German bouhhan

Related formsbea·con·less, adjectiveun·bea·coned, adjective


[ bee-kuh n ]
/ ˈbi kən /


a city in SE New York. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for beacon

British Dictionary definitions for beacon


/ (ˈbiːkən) /



to guide or warn
(intr) to shine

Word Origin for beacon

Old English beacen sign; related to Old Frisian bāken, Old Saxon bōcan, Old High German bouhhan

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 beacon



Old English beacen "sign, portent, lighthouse," from West Germanic *baukna "beacon, signal" (cf. Old Frisian baken, Old Saxon bokan, Old High German bouhhan); not found outside Germanic. Perhaps borrowed from Latin bucina "a crooked horn or trumpet, signal horn." But more likely from PIE *bhew-, a variant of the base *bha- "to gleam, shine" (see phantasm). Figurative use from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper