Definition of siren in US English:

siren

noun

  • 1A device that makes a loud prolonged sound as a signal or warning.

    ‘ambulance sirens’
    • ‘If you listen carefully to an ambulance siren or a train whistle, you will notice that the noise sounds higher while the vehicle is approaching, and lower after the vehicle has passed by.’
    • ‘As Nagasaki had been targeted in the past, people in the city had become blasé when the air raid siren sounded.’
    • ‘He dozed off into a pleasant slumber before being woken up to the sound of Klaxon sirens and flashing red lights from the hallway.’
    • ‘Although no-one was directly injured, alarm sirens began to sound throughout the control room.’
    • ‘Sounding her siren and firing distress rockets the ship tried desperately to make the beach but as the lifeboat crews assembled the steamer gave a final lurch and went down.’
    • ‘Ironically, the sound of the sirens disappeared after the gang fled.’
    • ‘Most of the war was spent at Windsor castle, where the princesses learned the art of rolling out of bed and into air raid shelters when the sirens sounded.’
    • ‘The loud sound of sirens suddenly pierced the quiet scene and she jumped up instantly.’
    • ‘As if on cue, the sounds of an ambulance siren pierced the air.’
    • ‘A loud klaxon and a blaring siren signaled the start of the balloon busting derby.’
    • ‘When the sensor picks up violent movement, such as the item being grabbed, a signal is sent to a base unit which sounds a siren.’
    • ‘The sirens screamed even louder as the ambulance had arrived.’
    • ‘The piercing alarms of air raid sirens were signalling an attack.’
    • ‘After a few seconds, the sirens started to sound louder again.’
    • ‘The sound of air raid sirens filled the air, and hundreds of people dressed as soldiers of different nationalities filled the streets of Pickering for the seventh annual wartime weekend.’
    • ‘The nation came to a standstill in a two-minute silence at 10.00 am, signalled by deafening air-raid sirens and traffic grinding to a halt.’
    • ‘Just then, she heard the loud blaring sound of an ambulance siren as it screamed by her vehicle, hurrying up the road in the one empty lane that had been sectioned off by orange cones.’
    • ‘I began to notice the constant sounds of sirens and loud unexplained noises.’
    • ‘The sound of sirens filled the air as fire engines and ambulances dashed to the scene.’
    • ‘There were police cars, ambulances and fire engines, all sounding sirens in an endless procession south.’
    alarm, alarm bell, warning bell, danger signal
    View synonyms
  • 2Greek Mythology
    Each of a number of women or winged creatures whose singing lured unwary sailors on to rocks.

    • ‘There was also a balcony that overlooked the ocean, where he swore that the sounds of the waves were truly mythical sirens singing him to sleep.’
    • ‘The vacant-eyed sirens sing only to the moon and a passing sea-bird.’
    • ‘Both sirens and mermaids have musical talents; bird-sirens sing and play the pipes and the lyre, whereas mermaids rely on their voices to entice sailors to their death.’
    • ‘He's smart enough to avoid things like singing sirens.’
    • ‘There was an altogether more subtle look at his show which drew on Homer and Plato's tales of sirens singing unsuspecting sailors to their deaths.’
    1. 2.1 A woman who is considered to be alluring or fascinating but also dangerous in some way.
      • ‘Reich is currently on a three-month North American wildride with fellow siren, slow-burning folkie Addie Brownlee.’
      • ‘He hadn't been able to resist this still elegant, once-upon-a-time siren, whose beauty had been hidden by the unkindness of time and circumstance.’
      • ‘Dubbed the ‘Girl with the Perfect Figure,’ Page was one of America's first sex sirens.’
      • ‘Get in tough with your inner siren and go for high-octane glamour: think sequins, heels and a slash of red lipstick’
      • ‘They've got the glossy good looks and fleeting A-list appeal to grab a famous Liam, but want to be more than lucky pop princesses turned tacky tabloid sirens.’
      • ‘She is the movie's sexpot, a siren that irresistibly attracts men.’
      • ‘It's as if she can't make up her mind whether she wants to be a siren, a vamp or a frump.’
      seductress, temptress, femme fatale, mata hari, enchantress, circe, lorelei, delilah
      View synonyms
  • 3An eel-like American amphibian with tiny forelimbs, no hind limbs, small eyes, and external gills, typically living in muddy pools.

    Family Sirenidae: genera Siren and Pseudobranchus, and three species, including the greater siren (S. lacertina)

    • ‘I presented a captive Siren with a small crayfish once.’
    • ‘Adults sirens are aquatic and neotenic, with lengths ranging from 4-36 inches.’
    • ‘Sirens are probably the most ancient line of salamanders now alive on planet earth.’

Origin

Middle English (denoting an imaginary type of snake): from Old French sirene, from late Latin Sirena, feminine of Latin Siren, from Greek Seirēn.

Pronunciation

siren

/ˈsīrən//ˈsaɪrən/