Definition of bleep in English:



  • 1A short high-pitched sound made by an electronic device as a signal or to attract attention.

    ‘when your food was ready for eating, the microwave told you so with five bleeps’
    • ‘The night before our chat, in Edinburgh, he persuaded a Book Festival crowd to exchange mobile numbers then create a mini-symphony of rings and bleeps.’
    • ‘Tony Conrad violin drones return on the sixth track, working amid electronic bleeps and squeaks which come to dominate the proceedings.’
    • ‘The desire to have your entire workforce no more than a pager bleep away is a very American one, born of a culture where job insecurity is a given and staff turnover furiously fast.’
    • ‘You might think that sitting next to a small metallic box for two hours listening to the emission of electronic bleeps and pulses was the sonic equivalent of watching paint dry.’
    • ‘There are also unfamiliar noises such as alarms and bleeps which help the nurse to monitor the patient.’
    • ‘These radio units help skiers caught in an avalanche to locate each other, emitting a stream of high-pitched bleeps like a comedy sci-fi homing device.’
    • ‘Trance features as many as 150 beats a minute, coupled with a thumping bass and a variety of sounds ranging from psychedelic bleeps to hard guitar rifts.’
    • ‘The usual Gomez sound, a psychedelic blend of blues-rock and electronic bleeps and bloops, was unique enough to satisfy multiple listenings on previous albums.’
    • ‘All those irritating bleeps, rings, melodies weren't coming from my jacket or bag.’
    • ‘Mrs Light said: ‘The bleeper on his pulse suddenly went into one long bleep and the next five minutes until he came round seemed like a lifetime.’’
    • ‘There are tales of UFOs and plutonium, veiled critiques of macho money-grabbing rap and more electronic bleeps than in a digital telephone exchange.’
    • ‘The machines cause a variety of alarms, bleeps and other sounds, most of which alert staff when something needs attention or has changed slightly, few require immediate attention from the nurse.’
    • ‘He still had the car keys in his pocket, but a neighbour told him he had heard the bleep of a car alarm being switched off between 1.30 am and 2am.’
    • ‘Neither she or her elderly dog who is partly blind and deaf were woken up by the shrill bleep of the smoke alarm.’
    • ‘After almost an hour and a half had passed an unexpected electronic bleep disturbed the silence.’
    • ‘A barber has become so annoyed by mobile phone use in his shop that he has started issuing fines every time he hears a bleep or electronic jingle.’
    • ‘The skronking sax is relentless and pointless and although the electronic bleeps are a welcome change, it's not enough to make these mundane tunes memorable.’
    • ‘Sheep eyed us all the way, lapwing cried, a skylark ascended to the clouds and an electronic bleep made Lesley check her camera.’
    • ‘My pet peeve for the day is waking up in the middle of the night, curled in a warm hollow under the blankets, relaxed and thinking dozily about blogs and mailing lists… and then the harsh bleep of my alarm ricocheting through the dark.’
    • ‘While the Mac has long offered a fine audio experience, the PC was for many years limited to bleeps and warbles issued from its single built-in speaker.’
    audible warning, purr, purring, ring, ringing, note, tone, beep, bleep, meep, warble, signal, alarm, alert
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A short high-pitched electronic sound used in broadcasting as a substitute for a censored word or phrase.
      • ‘Clay's appearance, broadcast with a five-second delay to allow bleeps, drew heavy advance publicity because of the boycotts.’
      • ‘We'll have to wait and see if the potential feature will be free of the bleeps that block out the language in BBC America's broadcast (they run an uncensored version later at night).’
      • ‘So maybe they won't have the next hit single - if for no other reason than the bleeps censoring out the drug references could constitute a whole new backbeat on their own.’
      • ‘Granted, this discussion is peppered with censors' bleeps and is incomprehensible at times due to Ozzy's slurred speech, but it's heartfelt and earnest all the same.’
      • ‘Or maybe it's just a matter of taste and the person who is bleeped feels that what they said or did was not as bad as what America will assume, from the bleep, they said or did.’
    2. 1.2British
      another term for bleeper
      • ‘A third, who had severe emphysema, told me after five call-ups to the transplant unit that he could no longer tolerate the emotional roller coaster involved in carrying the transplant bleep and withdrew himself from the programme.’
      • ‘“I don't carry a bleep. I'm the consultant.”’
      • ‘"It wasn't Mother's fault her bleep went off during the wedding vows," said Giles.’
      • ‘He would respond to his bleep, and then he would come to theatre.’
      • ‘At the moment it is expected that the nurse practitioner will carry a bleep and will take all phone calls requesting emergency appointments.’


  • 1 (of an electronic device) make a short high-pitched sound or sounds as a signal or to attract attention.

    ‘the screen flickered for a few moments and bleeped’
    • ‘You're a world away from traffic jams, bleeping mobile phones and your crotchety boss.’
    • ‘And on Wired News, these photos I shot at the convention this week, including the one at left of a young woman overwhelmed by blinking, bleeping things inside Microsoft's Xbox pavilion.’
    • ‘This untidy pile of hardware is in fact the throbbing, bleeping heart of one of the world's most advanced parliamentary webcasting services.’
    • ‘Front and rear parking sensors bleep neurotically at you the moment you even think about colliding with anything.’
    • ‘The computer bleeped in compliance and then a few seconds later a clean and youthful face appeared onscreen.’
    • ‘But when Mikhail raised the phone of its hook, all he got was a dead signal, monotonous and bleeping.’
    • ‘There is a big hoo-ha getting you a tape to wear, a heart monitor, so that if your watch starts to bleep you know to rush yourself to hospital.’
    • ‘And at this point, or at one very much like it, Thomson's mobile phone rings and bleeps out the theme tune from James Bond.’
    • ‘Even so, seeing him in the hospital is very difficult because his heart rate keeps dropping and you can see all the monitors bleeping and screaming.’
    • ‘Not wanting to get into a conversation, David quickly hits the button to turn off the telephone and as it bleeps, the doorbell sounds through the house.’
    • ‘The small, spider-like robot bleeped happily and a series of lights danced across its body.’
    • ‘In an attempt to stop it, I pulled the electrodes off my chest, but that only resulted in bleeping to increase in sound, making it one long beep.’
    • ‘He tells me the strange tale of a Welsh diver who, when starting his dive, shot up from 6m to 4m, heard his computer bleep in protest and was, in next to no time, look you, back in the boat on pure oxygen.’
    • ‘My phone's gonna die soon, it keeps bleeping low battery.’
    • ‘Machines bleep, robots whir, and speakers drone emotionless commands like so many HAL 9000s.’
    • ‘When Rod got back to the island bungalow, the computer was bleeping madly.’
    • ‘And those commercials, bleeping with the sounds of electronica and oozing indie creed, are selling establishment products to the alternative nation.’
    • ‘Alarm clock bleeping, sun shining through, Hestor gets up groggily and heads for the bathroom.’
    • ‘A new bikini which bleeps every 15 minutes to prevent its wearer from falling asleep in the sun was to be launched on Brighton beach yesterday.’
    • ‘‘And IGAR is not only useful, he's polite,’ said Mr Askham, and to prove the point IGAR bleeped his need for new cassettes of insulation tape.’
    1. 1.1British [with object]Summon (someone) with a bleeper.
      ‘I'll get Jan to bleep you if I need transport’
      • ‘Then Matt began to bleep Mike with the walky talky.’
      • ‘Just after I had been bleeped about a psychiatric admission, I read the notice ‘Sigh here.’’
      • ‘When I was a house officer I was bleeped to a ward to watch a man pass the last few moments of his life.’
      • ‘Then I bleeped the medical registrar to ask what to do about the abnormal D-dimer test result.’
      • ‘On the first occasion I was covering the wards when I was bleeped regarding a patient who had developed blue hands.’
    2. 1.2[with object]Substitute a bleep or bleeps for (a censored word or phrase)
      ‘I may have to bleep a few words in his testimony’
      • ‘The long shot may have been because one of the dancers was showing a bit too much dorsal cleavage… but if so, that's like the silly need to bleep words in a pre-recorded musical number.’
      • ‘Suffice it to say many words were bleeped out, and it was quite hilarious.’
      • ‘After all, this is more indirect than bleeping taboo words is.’
      • ‘But playing to the brand is easy and fun and safe, so the folks at ABC institute the bleeping delay, just to be safe.’
      • ‘Rather than bleeping mere words, the CBC will undertake the ludicrous, Orwellian task of bleeping ideas.’
      • ‘This was followed by a string of curse words that the censors wisely bleeped out.’
      • ‘That's why they bleeped her name out in the first one.’
      • ‘They probably can't bleep a specific word on the fly so the sound would just disappear for a period.’
      • ‘It's a radio edit so the naughty words are bleeped out, but it was all I had handy on the computer so it will have to do!’
      • ‘Ironically, after years of glamorising gun crime and ghetto culture, Rockstar has finally produced a genuinely subversive game… and one where swear words are bleeped out.’
      • ‘She said it would be bleeped out when NBC showed the telethon by tape delay on the West Coast.’
      • ‘During the first 30-minute episode, dialogue is bleeped out 59 times.’
      • ‘I've just finished watching last night's Letterman show and yes, he used an ample amount of potty language that had to be bleeped out, but that's not the risky bit.’
      • ‘A word of warning, it is Dave Chappelle and therefore much of the language is bleeped out.’
      • ‘The Bride's name is bleeped out through the film, but in a way that seems like a desperate bid for curiosity rather than a build-up of mystery.’
      • ‘They also know just what NBC did to bleep the word from the West Coast replay of the program.’
      • ‘They'd have bleeped chunks of the dialogue out if this had been live on E4 though.’
      • ‘I won't ruin the surprise. It involves a lot of naughty words that'll have to be bleeped out in post.’
      • ‘There are also a few scenes of former obscene phone callers being interviewed about their experiences and why they stopped making calls; in one of these bits, the only word that gets bleeped out is ‘snot’.’
      • ‘Listen, I caught your show last night, and they bleeped you a couple times.’
      • ‘I just lost it completely, cursing and swearing, but most of my comments were bleeped out.’
      • ‘He said he was outraged RTÉ subjected his children to offensive language, which could have easily been bleeped out.’


1950s: imitative.