Origin of SOS
Words nearby SOS
Other definitions for SOS (2 of 3)
Other definitions for SOS (3 of 3)
Origin of s.o.s.
What does SOS mean?
Morse code uses clicks and pauses, short and long sounds, or flashes of light to represent letters and numbers. S is represented by three short clicks or brief flashes of light, and O is represented by three long sounds or longer flashes of light (depicted with dashes).
Morse code can be written out using dots to represent short clicks and dashes to represent long ones, resulting in a specific sequence for SOS (··· – – – ···) that was chosen since it would be easy to communicate with sounds over radio or with flashes of light.
The signal became well-known enough that SOS came to be used as an informal term for any call for help or notification that there is an emergency, as in Send an SOS to the board letting them know that we’ll have to schedule an emergency meeting.
When used this way, each letter is still pronounced individually (S-O-S). The plural of SOS can be written as SOSs or SOS’s. SOS can also be used as a verb meaning to send such an SOS.
Example: I have my phone set up to automatically send an SOS to certain contacts if I ever dial 9-1-1.
Where does SOS come from?
SOS was officially designated as a distress call in the early 1900s. Contrary to popular belief, the sequence SOS was not meant to stand for “save our ship” or “save our souls,” both of which were applied to the series of letters later. In fact, the letters were not intended to stand for anything—they were chosen simply because they are easy to communicate in Morse code and the resulting sequence is easy to distinguish from any other message.
Morse code has since largely fallen out of practical use in favor of systems based on more advanced technologies, especially satellite communication. However, use of the term SOS as an informal way of referring to a distress call is still common.
Did you know ... ?
How is SOS used in real life?
The signal SOS was once commonly used in the context of radio communication among ships. Today, the use of SOS as a general way to refer to a call for help is informal. It’s sometimes used in situations that aren’t quite emergencies—you might text an SOS to your roommate to bring home ice cream, for example.
At 12.57am, the first use of 'SOS' by the Titanic is recorded. According to Harold Bride, he had asked Phillips what he was sending and was told 'CQD.' Appealing to his sense of humour, Bride suggested using the new call, 'SOS', as it may be his last chance to send it. pic.twitter.com/4qvtqbQMep
— Paul Lee (@DrPLee) April 15, 2018
Stranded Australian man uses drone to send SOS SMS on cell phone.
"After becoming stranded on a dirt road between two rising creeks on Monday night, the man attached his mobile phone to a drone and flew it into the air to send an SOS via text message."https://t.co/Bi49cRllou
— Roger Chang (@jollyroger) January 7, 2021
My moms getting roasted in the gc bc she keeps pushing button combinations that send out SOS texts to my siblings and I 😭👵🏼 she’s an old lady now, technology is against her lmao
— 𝕲𝖆𝖇𝖗𝖎𝖊𝖑𝖑𝖊 (@GaBsagittarius) June 27, 2020
Try using SOS!
Is SOS used correctly in the following sentence?
My neighbor’s dog is lost, so I just posted an SOS on the neighborhood message board.
How to use SOS in a sentence
As Democrats mutter privately that their Senate majority is sinking beneath the waves, their leadership has sent out an SOS.
Mooney quickly inflated his life raft, sent out an SOS signal and drifted for fourteen days before he was rescued.Victor Mooney’s Epic Adventure for His Dead Brother|Justin Jones|October 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But FEC filings show that neither the left-leaning SoS for Democracy nor the right-leaning SoS for SoS have taken off yet.
The acronym of the embodying League of the Common Fate is SOS.This 1979 Novel Predicted Putin’s Invasion Of Crimea|Michael Weiss|May 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Gascón and the Boken family and the others of a pro “kill switch” group calling itself Secure Our Smartphones (SOS) kept pushing.
Miss blusht—what a happy dog he was—Miss blusht crimson, and then he sighed deeply, and began eating his turbat and lobster sos.
A great blob of brown sos spurted on to master's chick, and myandrewed down his shert-collar and virging-white weskit.
I was glad to git the buggy sos I could take my gal for a ride.Slave Narratives: a Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves|Work Projects Administration
I came up to tell you, sos you could get a man to help you and go right down and get him out.
Den write it all out crost de back ob Miss Jinnys letter sos I have sumpin fer ter show dat its done paid.