Definition of alert in US English:

alert

adjective

  • 1Quick to notice any unusual and potentially dangerous or difficult circumstances; vigilant.

    ‘an alert police officer discovered a truck full of explosives’
    ‘schools need to be constantly alert to this problem’
    • ‘At the other end Dermot Byrne almost got clear but Farrell Cuddihy was very alert to clear the danger.’
    • ‘We were all surely alert to the subliminal messages in the deceptive modesty of his glances.’
    • ‘He is very alert to matters of procedural fairness.’
    • ‘The man was completely alert to his surroundings.’
    • ‘One consequence is that consumers are more alert to influences than ever before.’
    • ‘His poetry continued as it began, very alert to Art as politically acquiescent, complicit or compromised.’
    • ‘In fact, he was very alert to the activity of the minor pieces.’
    • ‘As you revise, you should be very alert to this point.’
    • ‘Typically alert to nuances, he was among the first to switch into post-mortem analytic mode.’
    • ‘He did not bother answering me, his eyes were almost closed, but the impression he gave was that he was concentrating intensely and quite alert to what was happening around us.’
    • ‘There are signs that Congress is at least somewhat alert to these dangers.’
    • ‘I think they're very guarded and very alert to anything that they think might be untoward or suspicious.’
    • ‘Though at times they don't seem to be the most aware of animals, sheep are very alert to mood swings, and this time was no exception.’
    • ‘One must also be very alert to the fact that some pilgrims of certain nationalities come in bunches and batches and push their way through.’
    • ‘"Thanks to the efforts of police and the media, the public is more alert to these practices.’
    • ‘Firstly Ballyfin's Eoin McEvoy had to be very alert to deny Conroy.’
    • ‘And shortly thereafter, several alert readers noticed something very peculiar.’
    • ‘It has however been equally alert to the fact that a State might present a charge in this way, when in reality it was seeking to impede imports, or in circumstances where there was no commercial exchange at all.’
    • ‘So Pacific Islanders today are very alert to their ocean, and their ownership of that ocean, and their custodianship of that ocean.’
    • ‘You begin to become more alert to your surroundings.’
    vigilant, wide awake, aware, watchful, attentive, observant, circumspect, wary, chary, heedful, canny
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Able to think clearly; intellectually active.
      ‘she remained active and alert until well into her eighties’
      • ‘She was quite alert and was able to learn the English language rather quickly.’
      • ‘At physical examination at the time of discharge, she was alert and able to converse and had limited flexion in the lower extremities.’
      • ‘It is the first principle of an alert intellect.’
      • ‘On his good days, he is very alert mentally and engages clearly with the issues at hand; on other days he finds it difficult to focus.’
      • ‘Still active and alert Mary attributes her longevity to plenty of hard work, good genes, a healthy lifestyle and a positive outlook on life in general.’
      • ‘Still alert and active, she talked to the Evening Press and recalled how she managed to get the youngsters and all her family on to a ship bound for the USA in 1935.’
      • ‘In both studies, patients were alert and able to communicate by holding up fingers in response to questions and did not themselves complete the instruments.’
      • ‘By this time, the sedating medications usually are significantly dissipated, and the patient is alert and oriented and able to lift his or her own leg.’
      • ‘I realise that I must keep mentally alert to delay the process of degeneration.’
      • ‘Advocaat was appropriate raw material for such an alert intellect.’
      • ‘Undemonstrative, quick-witted, alert and intelligent: he has it all.’
      • ‘Surviving in a comatose state, his mind is still alert and active.’
      • ‘‘She is a very bright little girl, very alert,’ she said.’
      • ‘Tanner was alert and able to answer questions but was not extremely active.’
      • ‘‘He was 93 but he remained mentally very alert until the very end although physically he became very ill,’ added Mr Maltin.’
      • ‘The swelling in his face is nearly gone and he's much more alert and active, which is really encouraging.’
      • ‘Everyone agreed that Mr Sage was an intelligent, alert man, notwithstanding his years.’
      • ‘Throughout his life he remained very alert and active until very recent times.’
      • ‘Ms L was alert and oriented and able to move both lower extremities at the time of transfer.’
      • ‘She was a very active and alert lady and was a founder member of Clonaslee ICA.’
      quick-witted, sharp, bright, quick, keen, perceptive, wide awake, responsive, agile, acute, astute
      View synonyms

noun

  • 1The state of being watchful for possible danger.

    ‘security forces were placed on alert’
    • ‘No matter how carefully drivers stay on alert against unexpected pedestrians rushing out in front of them, disasters will still occur and there are always casualties.’
    • ‘This was not the case with security forces, however, who remained on alert against possible terror attacks.’
    • ‘And Ergon Energy stockpiled materials and put crews on alert yesterday in preparation for possible damage to the electricity network.’
    • ‘And now, as his execution by lethal injection nears, some clinics providing abortions are on alert for possible violence.’
    • ‘Police guarded key sites in New York, on alert for possible truck bombs, suicide bombers and chemical and biological attack.’
    • ‘Initially, the company was put on alert for possible participation in an airport security mission.’
    • ‘Forestry Minister John Browne has urged forest owners to be prepared and on alert and to help to stamp out fires in plantations.’
    • ‘Hospitals and doctors have been placed on alert to be prepared to quarantine patients suspected of suffering from the early stages of the virus.’
    • ‘France was on alert yesterday for a possible upsurge of violence as the country headed into a long holiday weekend, two weeks after rioting broke out in a run-down suburb of the capital.’
    • ‘Army reserve units have also been placed on alert for possible call-up.’
    • ‘But the industry was put on alert about the possible tax rises at a conference this month when a representative from the Revenue said the memoranda would need to be reviewed.’
    • ‘The main north-south highway was reopened on Thursday but motorists were urged to remain on alert against possible dangers caused by the continuing heavy rains.’
    • ‘However, as they approached and she saw the ambulance and all the patrol cars, she put her defenses on alert and prepared herself for anything.’
    • ‘It's still pretty high, but even if it does, we can be on alert to get out of here as soon as possible.’
    • ‘Medical staff in Scarborough have been put on alert for possible infections after a patient at the resort's hospital died of pneumonia.’
    • ‘Dalton sees the handwriting on the wall and wants to put the town on alert for possible evacuation, but the request is refused by his politically conscious superior.’
    • ‘Greater Manchester was put on alert today as firemen prepared for the start of a national strike.’
    • ‘But despite the favorable atmosphere, police remained on alert for possible security threats on the session, the officer said.’
    • ‘So, it makes sense to be on alert in a cautious, sensible way all throughout the country.’
    • ‘The President had urged the public to be on alert for possible terrorist actions in September or October.’
    vigilance, watchfulness, carefulness, attentiveness, guardedness, care, caution, cautiousness, wariness, chariness, alertness, circumspection, prudence, heedfulness, heed, mindfulness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An announcement or signal warning of danger.
      ‘a bomb alert’
      ‘an alert sounded and all the fighters took off’
      • ‘‘These floods are an alert,’ said Dr Mike Hulme, reader in climatology in the climate research unit at the University of East Anglia.’
      • ‘A flood alert was sounded in Kinnaur, Shimla, Kulu and Mandi districts last evening after water started overflowing from the lake, bringing along a lot of silt.’
      • ‘A bomb alert was issued at a post office in Germany this week after a package waiting to be delivered began vibrating and emitting a strange noise.’
      • ‘The all-clear had in fact sounded from an initial alert when the bomb was dropped.’
      • ‘Yes, it's frustrating to have alerts sounded and then have nothing happen.’
      • ‘Some of his public alerts sound quite fanciful.’
      • ‘There were also bomb alerts in Philadelphia and Washington.’
      • ‘If a flood alert is issued, the Association of British Insurers advises that valuables and furniture are shifted to higher floors.’
      • ‘There has been a continual stream of bomb alerts.’
      • ‘The district administration has sounded an alert.’
      • ‘Meanwhile there are fresh alerts of bomb attacks raised.’
      • ‘The Environment Agency is hoping to be able to issue flood alerts for all major watercourses in the future.’
      • ‘The Environment Agency issued flood alerts for several rivers and part of the A12 was sealed off.’
      • ‘Normally it sounds text-message alerts about 90 times a day.’
      • ‘Science may not yet be able to predict earthquakes with complete accuracy, but an early warning network exists in the Pacific Ocean to issue alerts about the danger of tsunamis.’
      • ‘In future, flood alerts will be sent out by text message and mobile phone calls as well as pagers, and the agency's website is also being upgraded so it can better handle sudden surges in the number of ‘hits’ during floods.’
      • ‘On Tuesday computer security experts issued a worldwide alert of the imminent danger to the Internet from the spread of the worm virus.’
      • ‘Preventive alerts and warnings sometimes issued at the local level were not repeated nationally.’
      • ‘When I woke up yesterday morning, my Inbox was flooded with news alerts from Karbala, Iskandariyah and Babil.’
      • ‘There have been alerts warning of bombs being hidden in cameras, cell phones, even stuffed toys.’
      warning, caution, notification, notice, exhortation, injunction
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A period of vigilance in response to a warning of danger.
      ‘traffic was halted during the alert’
      • ‘What To Do During Hurricane Alerts.’
      • ‘In a nervous age of orange alerts, who will take the place of Mister Rogers?’
      • ‘The incident follows a similar alert at a post office earlier this week.’
      • ‘I think if we are going to have these high alerts in the future, I think it is incumbent on the attorney general to give us more information.’
      • ‘Locals say the series of explosions and alerts over the last decade have shattered their confidence in their company's ability to manage the plant without it presenting a hazard to their lives.’
      • ‘How do we explain what appears to be a night and day difference between the year prior to November 2004 and the year since in terms of terror alerts and scares?’
      • ‘A crowd throw petrol bombs and stones at police and army during a security alert in west Belfast.’
      • ‘The explosions came amid worldwide terror alerts and four days after a series of bombings killed 34 people.’
      • ‘In what I earnestly hope will be a source of lessons learned, a large meteor entered Earth's atmosphere near Jakarta this weekend during a terror alert.’
      • ‘Thousands of holidaymakers who lost luggage following the airport security alert earlier this month are unlikely to be able to claim compensation from their insurers, it emerged last week.’
      • ‘The plan, devised with the help of York Council emergency planning co-ordinator Barry Kelly, aims to speed local response when an alert occurs.’
      • ‘This weekend sees terror alerts covering a great part of the world.’
      • ‘Civil libertarians say the case poses a landmark test of what people can do or whom they can associate with in the age of terror alerts.’
      • ‘The country is on a war alert following terrorist attacks on its Parliament building.’
      • ‘At the same time, the government has ordered a general alert, canceling all leave and reinforcing positions.’
      • ‘When exercising outdoors during a smog alert, even healthy people may cough or wheeze.’
      • ‘Physicians are asking people to understand the impact smog can have on their health and to take appropriate measures to stay healthy during smog alerts.’
      • ‘Consideration should be given to suspending the collection of all tolls during ozone alerts’

verb

[with object]
  • Warn (someone) of a danger, threat, or problem, typically with the intention of having it avoided or dealt with.

    ‘he alerted people to the dangers of smoking’
    ‘police were alerted after three men drove away without paying’
    • ‘This will help avoid changes being made by someone without alerting other people.’
    • ‘The splash was subtle, but it made a noise that was quite loud, alerting anyone close by.’
    • ‘She let out a soft moan that would only reach Cindy's ears, alerting her of her discomfort.’
    • ‘Marriages broke up, alerting women to the disadvantages of being financially dependent.’
    • ‘We also implemented a new information campaign in our waiting room aimed at alerting young people to the danger of infection.’
    • ‘To hunt a man without alerting the people is like finding a needle in a haystack.’
    • ‘Computers can also cut costs by alerting a physician ordering a test that it has already been done.’
    • ‘He alerted colleagues in a bid to warn drivers heading north on the motorway.’
    • ‘She said the words as loud as she could without alerting the driver of the van that they were both awake.’
    • ‘She had just started relaxing when her laptop gave a small beep, alerting her that she had mail.’
    • ‘Surely it would make more sense to put up an advert outside a football ground alerting men to the dangers of testicular or prostate cancer?’
    • ‘I mention this by way of alerting you to the only moment in the book where we feel even mildly uncomfortable.’
    • ‘A neighbour was alerted by the commotion and police and ambulance attended the scene.’
    • ‘The ensuing silence was heavy, alerting him to just how still the room was, how lonely.’
    • ‘Wenger did the game a service by alerting us to the dangers.’
    • ‘Lizzie had seen the glow of the flames when she went upstairs and alerted her parents.’
    • ‘A pensioner is lucky to be alive after her dog alerted her to the danger of a fire at her home’
    • ‘Somehow, she made it out to the poolside without alerting anyone inside the house.’
    • ‘To be able to take the money out of her pouch without even alerting her would have taken real skill.’
    • ‘She gave him a pointed look, alerting him that she was aware of his duplicity.’
    warn, notify, apprise, caution, put on one's guard, forewarn, put on the qui vive, arouse
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • on the alert

    • Vigilant and prepared.

      ‘the security forces must be on the alert for an upsurge in violence’
      • ‘There is a constant need to keep on the alert, and I'm confident we can do that.’
      • ‘The committee appeals to everyone to exercise more vigilance and to be on the alert at all times, particularly in the run-up to Christmas.’
      • ‘The terrorist decides where and when he will strike, while the security forces must constantly be on the alert.’
      • ‘Still, customers must always be on the alert and must not let themselves be lured by banks into taking loans that turn into an unbearable burden.’
      • ‘After North Carolina, the trip was different because I was different, on the alert, an outsider in strange land.’
      • ‘To avoid overlooking opportunities, we must forever be on the alert.’
      • ‘The groups leadership has once again gone to ground, and security forces are on the alert.’
      • ‘Now that silage and hay making is at hand, farmers must be on the alert.’
      • ‘West was suddenly at full attention and totally on the alert.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, managers are not always on the alert, so some incidents are not recognized as such.’

Origin

Late 16th century (originally in military use): from French alerte, from Italian all' erta ‘to the watchtower’.

Pronunciation

alert

/əˈlərt//əˈlərt/