Definition of smoke signal in US English:

smoke signal


  • 1A column of smoke used as a way of conveying a message to a distant person.

    • ‘Tribes in Kurdistan set up a primitive warning system with observers and smoke signals to warn the most likely targets of the approach of British aircraft.’
    • ‘There is sign language, flag semaphores, smoke signals, and Morse code.’
    • ‘Many of their traditions and their original methods of communication - their language, smoke signals, and messages carried by people on foot - have survived.’
    • ‘In times of danger, during the Crusades, smoke signals were relayed between Saladin's Castle, Marqab, Safita and Crac des Chevaliers, our next stop.’
    • ‘The smoke signals from the Vatican were certainly this week's most newsworthy communicative acts.’
    1. 1.1 An indication of someone's intentions or views.
      ‘the Iowa caucuses might have given a small smoke signal of the Democrats' likely choice’
      • ‘If you read The Sunday Times last week, there were smoke signals that gave you a pretty good idea what that might be.’
      • ‘Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's office is sending smoke signals that we all squint to interpret.’
      • ‘Both financial markets and the businesses community have been looking for smoke signals from the government about when or if the UK would take the plunge.’
      • ‘Various smoke signals have been sent up, but in truth, nobody knows. This is the type of thing that Bertie always, always keeps in pectore until the very last moment.’
      • ‘As ever in Northern Ireland, however, the smoke signals are confused and indistinct.’
      warning fire, warning light, signal fire, signal light, bonfire, beam, signal, danger signal, guiding light
      View synonyms


smoke signal

/smoʊk ˈsɪɡnəl//smōk ˈsiɡnəl/