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’
    • ‘Slowly, she was making her way to the door, where she could see the sunlight lighting like a beacon for her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But amid the feelings of frustration, one piece of positive news shone out like a beacon of hope.’
    • ‘Well-dressing festivals light up the Derbyshire dales all summer long, blazing from village to village like a beacon chain.’
    • ‘Tiny shoelaces glowed and my pants lit up like a beacon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When I saw the sign of The Dolmen Hotel all lit up it was like a beacon of hope to me.’
    • ‘The light flared like a beacon in the universe, bright enough for all to see.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As one of the oldest pubs in town, Hargadon's bar on O'Connell Street acts like a beacon to tourists and locals alike.’
    • ‘That said, Jerome Vareille stood out like a beacon of hope, creating or being on the end of the best of the few chances.’
    • ‘She held the little T-Rex high in her hand like a beacon.’
    • ‘The fire flickered like a beacon in the darkness.’
    • ‘This school is a leader in all-round education in the country and stands out like a beacon.’
    • ‘Chris lit up like a beacon and immediately vanished.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A beacon of hope for younger generation lawyers, he regularly goes to court, attends to cases and is still a leading lawyer.’
    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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘From the late 1970s, constellations of man-made navigation satellites have taken over as beacons to guide the way.’
      • ‘Rotating beacons on airfields made their debut in the early 1920s.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One of the great hazards for early immigrants was being shipwrecked on the uncharted Australian coast, where guiding beacons were few and far between.’
      • ‘And immediately ahead were the runway lights and beacon of Langley Field.’
      • ‘The Lighthouse was spinning its beacon again, as though it had never been as lifeless as it was just yesterday morning.’
      • ‘Jon thinks he is the loneliest boy in the world, with nothing to do but watch the lighthouse beacon.’
      • ‘Because most revenues came from import duties, he had to fashion a customs service and build buoys, beacons, and lighthouses.’
      • ‘The rain beat down on the lighthouse, the beacon of which barely managed to pierce the fog.’
      • ‘He had turned up all the field lights to maximum and turned on the beacon.’
      • ‘They carried with them into the wilderness the light of civilization and lit victory beacons visible for miles around.’
      • ‘The AAR operator is responsible for control of the aircraft's rendezvous beacons and tanker illumination lights during air-to-air refuelling.’
      • ‘If a late afternoon or night arrival is likely, select an alternate with a rotating beacon and runway lights.’
      • ‘The low power drain receiver is always on and will sound an alarm whenever it receives the unique signal from the MOB beacon.’
      • ‘What is the significance, if any, of the color and location of lights / beacons on airliners or any aircraft?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When night falls, the lighthouse and its embracing beacon draw the eye, flashing every five seconds as its loom bounces over the waves.’
      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.’
      • ‘The emergency services were informed of the disaster by the ship's emergency radio beacon.’
      • ‘At least one of the airliners involved transmitted a hijacking beacon.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The technique involves the attachment of infrared beacons or transmitters to specific anatomical landmarks, the surgical instruments, and cutting blocks.’
      • ‘Not long at all, I expect… especially when we have those tracking beacons embedded in their ships.’
      • ‘An orbiting satellite picked up a distress signal from the ship's emergency beacon, standard equipment on all modern boats.’
      • ‘The crash triggered emergency beacons both in the aircraft and on the men, and helicopters from RAF Leconfield and RAF Wattisham were immediately scrambled.’
      • ‘If an aircraft's beacon is turned off, the Air Force can now use search radars to still keep tabs on it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The beacon then transmits on the 406 MHz frequency.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If the company is leasing bandwidth from a cell company, they could conceivably use a low powered microwave transmitter for the tracking beacon.’
      • ‘Similar technology is used to track down lost aircraft and yachts through their radio beacons.’
      • ‘When activated, the beacon sends an encoded distress message to a series of satellites orbiting the Earth.’
      • ‘The system includes location beacons having a known position and the beacons are capable of receiving the identity information transmitted by the portable terminals.’
      • ‘Light, when introduced in the form of navigation beacons on ships, crawled, the speed of light being several thousand times slower.’
      • ‘However, with the development of sophisticated radio beacons and automated electrical lighting, as well as shipboard navigational aids, many lighthouses became redundant.’


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