or clax·on

[klak-suh n]


a loud electric horn, formerly used on automobiles, trucks, etc., and now often used as a warning signal.

Origin of klaxon

An Americanism dating back to 1905–10; formerly trademark
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for klaxon

Historical Examples of klaxon

  • Before he spoke, Jack pressed the button that actuated the Klaxon.

  • A klaxon was sounding, and warning lights flashed from the landing slot, to warn ships away from an attempted landing.

    Final Weapon

    Everett B. Cole

  • Among the writers who have established stable reputations for themselves during the War "Klaxon" is in the very front rank.

  • We'd both run from that spot in the Tenderloin as the klaxon sounded behind us, and we'd both been picked up by the cops.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow

  • Old Swainson answered on his Klaxon, and then the liner began to move slowly over the glittering water.

    The Air Pirate

    Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull

British Dictionary definitions for klaxon




a type of loud horn formerly used on motor vehicles

Word Origin for klaxon

C20: former trademark, from the name of the manufacturing company
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 klaxon

"loud warning horn," 1908, originally on automobiles, said to have been named for the company that sold them (The Klaxon Company; distributor for Lovell-McConnell Mfg. Co., Newark, N.J.), but probably the company was named for the horn, which bore a word likely based on Greek klazein "to roar," cognate with Latin clangere "to resound."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper