- a signal used, or designed to be used, by persons in peril, for the purpose of summoning aid, indicating their position, etc., as a radio code sign, aerial flare, flag hoist, or the like.Compare distress call(def 1).
- an indication, especially a nonverbal one, that assistance, cooperation, or the like, is needed: He correctly interpreted the host's upturned eyes as a distress signal and hastily changed the subject.
Origin of distress signal
First recorded in 1870–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for distress signal
And it would appear to those to whom he reported that he'd arrived too late at the distress-signal.Operation Terror
William Fitzgerald Jenkins
- a signal by radio, Very light, etc from a ship or other vessel in need of immediate assistance
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