- a signal, especially of alarm, sounded on a bell or bells.
- a bell used to sound an alarm.
Origin of tocsin
Examples from the Web for tocsin
Come on, stand up, brother, father, toll the tocsin [alarm bell]!Ukraine Separatists' Pro-Putin Raps
June 23, 2014
The tocsin rang impatiently, but other help (if that were any) there was none.A Tale of Two Cities
Her motto, "Truth for authority and not authority for truth," is still the tocsin of reform.
What priest does not know that tocsin of the night, and the start from peaceful slumbers?My New Curate
Immediately he dreamt that he heard the tocsin and took part in the events of June, 1848.Dreams
Drums can be heard beating the alarm, and the tocsin peals from the churches.The Gods are Athirst
- an alarm or warning signal, esp one sounded on a bell
- an alarm bell
Word Origin and History for tocsin
"alarm bell," 1580s, from Middle French toquassen "an alarm bell, the ringing of an alarm bell" (late 14c.), from Old Provençal tocasenh, from tocar "to strike" (from Vulgar Latin *toccare "strike a bell;" see touch) + senh "bell, bell note," from Late Latin signum "bell, ringing of a bell," in Latin "mark, signal." The current English spelling is from 1794, adopted from modern French.