Definition of beacon in English:



  • 1A fire or light set up in a high or prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration.

    ‘a chain of beacons carried the news’
    ‘her red hair was like a beacon in the night’
    figurative ‘the prospect of a new government was a beacon of hope for millions’
    • ‘The light flared like a beacon in the universe, bright enough for all to see.’
    • ‘But amid the feelings of frustration, one piece of positive news shone out like a beacon of hope.’
    • ‘Chris lit up like a beacon and immediately vanished.’
    • ‘The trail arched gently around a broad bay towards Krios headland, the corner of Crete, and a tiny chapel whose whitewashed walls gleamed like a beacon.’
    • ‘She held the little T-Rex high in her hand like a beacon.’
    • ‘When I saw the sign of The Dolmen Hotel all lit up it was like a beacon of hope to me.’
    • ‘The fire flickered like a beacon in the darkness.’
    • ‘During the course of the day, nature called and a public toilet was duly spotted in the distance, shining like a beacon of light in an otherwise barren sea of heather.’
    • ‘That said, Jerome Vareille stood out like a beacon of hope, creating or being on the end of the best of the few chances.’
    • ‘A beacon of hope for younger generation lawyers, he regularly goes to court, attends to cases and is still a leading lawyer.’
    • ‘In a very few seconds, the very tip of the Pillar began to shine like a beacon, until the light exploded outward in every direction, moving like a shock wave.’
    • ‘The chrome reflecting what light remained like a beacon.’
    • ‘Tiny shoelaces glowed and my pants lit up like a beacon.’
    • ‘Slowly, she was making her way to the door, where she could see the sunlight lighting like a beacon for her.’
    • ‘This school is a leader in all-round education in the country and stands out like a beacon.’
    • ‘Lex Stewart sounds like a beacon of moderation compared to some.’
    • ‘Back in those days, pretty much everyone went to the pub on a Saturday night and after working by himself all week, the Kerosene lantern at the Albert Hotel would act like a beacon as he'd head back into town.’
    • ‘Well-dressing festivals light up the Derbyshire dales all summer long, blazing from village to village like a beacon chain.’
    • ‘As one of the oldest pubs in town, Hargadon's bar on O'Connell Street acts like a beacon to tourists and locals alike.’
    • ‘It gave her a warm feeling to come home at night and see the light, like a beacon, burning brightly, beckoning her to the warmth of family.’
    1. 1.1British often in place names A hill suitable for a beacon.
      ‘Ivinghoe Beacon’
      • ‘One of the most wonderful walks I have taken was in the Brecon Beacons, Wales.’
    2. 1.2 A light or other visible object serving as a signal, warning, or guide at sea, on an airfield, etc.
      • ‘They carried with them into the wilderness the light of civilization and lit victory beacons visible for miles around.’
      • ‘When night falls, the lighthouse and its embracing beacon draw the eye, flashing every five seconds as its loom bounces over the waves.’
      • ‘The low power drain receiver is always on and will sound an alarm whenever it receives the unique signal from the MOB beacon.’
      • ‘The rain beat down on the lighthouse, the beacon of which barely managed to pierce the fog.’
      • ‘And immediately ahead were the runway lights and beacon of Langley Field.’
      • ‘What is the significance, if any, of the color and location of lights / beacons on airliners or any aircraft?’
      • ‘One of the great hazards for early immigrants was being shipwrecked on the uncharted Australian coast, where guiding beacons were few and far between.’
      • ‘Serving as a beacon on the Atlantic City skyline, the tower features a unique light show with as many as 42 different light configurations that can be seen for miles.’
      • ‘Rotating beacons on airfields made their debut in the early 1920s.’
      • ‘From the late 1970s, constellations of man-made navigation satellites have taken over as beacons to guide the way.’
      • ‘Jon thinks he is the loneliest boy in the world, with nothing to do but watch the lighthouse beacon.’
      • ‘The AAR operator is responsible for control of the aircraft's rendezvous beacons and tanker illumination lights during air-to-air refuelling.’
      • ‘He had turned up all the field lights to maximum and turned on the beacon.’
      • ‘A picture of a lighthouse or a beacon was emerging.’
      • ‘There were no signals received from locator beacons attached to the helicopter and its crew, suggesting it disintegrated almost immediately.’
      • ‘The Lighthouse was spinning its beacon again, as though it had never been as lifeless as it was just yesterday morning.’
      • ‘Newcastle's helicopter saw a strobe light and beacon overnight and early Friday morning located the yacht's life raft and crew near Duff Reef off of the Fijian Islands.’
      • ‘As they approached the coast the lookouts strained to see the beacon at Black Rock Lighthouse on the horizon, as navigation was left largely to chance in the darkness.’
      • ‘If a late afternoon or night arrival is likely, select an alternate with a rotating beacon and runway lights.’
      • ‘Because most revenues came from import duties, he had to fashion a customs service and build buoys, beacons, and lighthouses.’
      warning fire, warning light, signal fire, signal light, bonfire, smoke signal, beam, signal, danger signal, guiding light
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A radio transmitter whose signal helps to fix the position of a ship, aircraft, or spacecraft.
      • ‘As the aircraft slowed, ten members from the elite Golani Infantry jumped out and set up landing beacons for the remaining aircraft.’
      • ‘An orbiting satellite picked up a distress signal from the ship's emergency beacon, standard equipment on all modern boats.’
      • ‘The beacon then transmits on the 406 MHz frequency.’
      • ‘The Scots skipper at the centre of a high seas mutiny faces a bill of at least £4,000 after a dramatic rescue sparked by his rookie crew setting off the ship's Mayday beacon.’
      • ‘At least one of the airliners involved transmitted a hijacking beacon.’
      • ‘If the company is leasing bandwidth from a cell company, they could conceivably use a low powered microwave transmitter for the tracking beacon.’
      • ‘The emergency services were informed of the disaster by the ship's emergency radio beacon.’
      • ‘The system includes location beacons having a known position and the beacons are capable of receiving the identity information transmitted by the portable terminals.’
      • ‘When activated, the beacon sends an encoded distress message to a series of satellites orbiting the Earth.’
      • ‘If an aircraft's beacon is turned off, the Air Force can now use search radars to still keep tabs on it.’
      • ‘Not long at all, I expect… especially when we have those tracking beacons embedded in their ships.’
      • ‘After setting a directional beacon to warn passing ships, the Scout looked around the ship, hoping to try and pick up a clue as to what happened.’
      • ‘Aerial bombs or radio beacons are suspended from external bomb racks on detachable pylons.’
      • ‘The news of Corvette 03's shoot down arrived in the JRCC at a busy time; it was a hectic night with numerous reports of aircraft down and emergency beacons being detected.’
      • ‘Similar technology is used to track down lost aircraft and yachts through their radio beacons.’
      • ‘Ships, yachts and aircraft carry emergency beacons which are activated when they come into contact with water, sending a signal on a reserved frequency that identifies the vessel and its approximate location.’
      • ‘The crash triggered emergency beacons both in the aircraft and on the men, and helicopters from RAF Leconfield and RAF Wattisham were immediately scrambled.’
      • ‘However, with the development of sophisticated radio beacons and automated electrical lighting, as well as shipboard navigational aids, many lighthouses became redundant.’
      • ‘Light, when introduced in the form of navigation beacons on ships, crawled, the speed of light being several thousand times slower.’
      • ‘The technique involves the attachment of infrared beacons or transmitters to specific anatomical landmarks, the surgical instruments, and cutting blocks.’


Old English bēacn ‘sign, portent, ensign’, of West Germanic origin; related to beckon.