Definition of warning in US English:



  • 1A statement or event that indicates a possible or impending danger, problem, or other unpleasant situation.

    as modifier ‘a red warning light’
    ‘a warning about heavy thunderstorms’
    ‘suddenly and without any warning, the army opened fire’
    • ‘Police must give two verbal warnings to prostitutes before they have the power of arrest.’
    • ‘This year, it has been forced to issue warnings that it might run out of relief by the end of July.’
    • ‘The teenagers were all given final warnings about their conduct, says a police spokesman.’
    • ‘Drivers use the horn a lot - as little warnings with carefully graded tones and volumes.’
    • ‘All virus warnings are dealt with in the background, which is very convenient.’
    • ‘He cannot resist recalling previous warnings of a property market crash that failed to come true.’
    • ‘Police in the area have issued several warnings fearful that somebody will eventually be hurt.’
    • ‘Or will we take the necessary steps to change our ways and heed the warnings before it is too late?’
    • ‘It should issue clear health and safety warnings posted on the approach to high risk areas.’
    • ‘He wrote in the Times of the danger of hoping that his warnings came true so that it might vindicate his position.’
    • ‘These measures have included yellow card instant warnings and exclusion zones.’
    • ‘While official bird flu warnings reach fever pitch, the public seems to be keeping a cooler head.’
    • ‘Experts will also be on hand to explain how the Agency forecasts floods and how its warnings are issued.’
    • ‘It contained dire warnings about the impact on earth if global warming continues unchecked.’
    • ‘The rich white people of the South had the cash and the cars to get out of Dodge the moment warnings were issued.’
    • ‘Mr Bush has said that none of the warnings was specific enough for meaningful precautions to be taken.’
    • ‘She was secure enough in her own opinions to ignore her mother's warnings about her boyfriends.’
    • ‘One had assumed that these warnings had been heeded, examined and discounted as alarmist.’
    • ‘They chose to keep information about discharges secret and not to issue warnings.’
    • ‘It is also unclear if warnings or cautions were picked up as well as convictions.’
    example, deterrent, lesson, caution, exemplar, message, moral
    admonition, caution, remonstrance, injunction, reprimand, censure, caveat
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Cautionary advice.
      ‘a word of warning—don't park illegally’
      • ‘A word of warning to anyone planning to visit these Pacific Northwest asphalt wonders: these parks are mean and unforgiving.’
      • ‘A word of warning for the wise - Jebediah's last Perth gig sold out days before the show, so get a ticket in your hot little hand to avoid disappointment.’
      • ‘Yet all the words of warning and cautionary tales cannot dent his ambition to do something out of the ordinary.’
      • ‘A word of warning however: you will need to tune in your hearing for the witty, but thickly-accented dialogue.’
      • ‘Although by definition a caveat is a caution or warning that the notifier be given a hearing, yet it usually helps stall rather than alter a situation.’
      • ‘My only word of warning in this cartoon's defense (and feel free to disagree) is that while the first episode is a bit weak, the following two are much better.’
      • ‘Word of warning: removal men take everything literally.’
      • ‘Anyone with information or queries regarding this warning should contact our advice line on 0845 600 1352.’
      • ‘A word of warning: although very convenient, the potato gnocchi you buy in the chilled counter in supermarkets bear no resemblance to the home-made variety.’
      • ‘Mr. Friedman continued that there had been no advice, warning or suggestion that anything Jarvis had been told earlier was wrong.’
      • ‘I think we've seen all of them on the street today, just out and about, not really heeding any advice or warning to stay indoors.’
      • ‘A word of warning: this is the only place I have ever dined in where the steak was cooked exactly how I asked (a good thing).’
      • ‘In the meantime, a few pictures worth 1,000 words of warning.’
      • ‘Finally, I think it is worth ending with a word of warning to anyone who might be considering travelling to the United States without the proper documentation.’
      • ‘One word of warning: You are open to the world and appear innocent, and these qualities can make it difficult for you to find your true Mr. Right.’
      • ‘Also, a word of warning: school catchment areas are not cast in stone and, like the property market itself, a school's performance can fluctuate.’
      • ‘The ‘real life’ article is accompanied by graphic advice columns warning of the dangers of internet relationships.’
      • ‘A word of warning: getting to music college is no guaranteed path to success and work, as Andy found out at the very beginning.’
      • ‘Word of warning when wearing scarves, those of you who have short or wide necks avoid ties that go too near your neck as this will make your neck look shorter and wider.’
      • ‘Now Citizens Advice is warning that the problems are so severe they jeopardise the modernisation of the legal aid system introduced by the Government four years ago to improve the service.’
      caution, piece of advice, notification, information
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    2. 1.2 Advance notice of something.
      ‘she had only had four days' warning before leaving Berlin’
      • ‘In the 1998 events, it was revealed that the US government received advance warning of the Kenya bombing two weeks before it took place.’
      • ‘Then, after a while, the storm troopers advanced without warning and threw tear gas canisters into the sitting crowd.’
      • ‘So what would it take to provide advance warning of something the size of the Kusaie Island explosion of 1994?’
      • ‘Contestants are being given plenty of advance warning to get out their drawing boards, their hammers and barrels and get working on their master pieces.’
      • ‘They will get access to a range of national initiatives, government programmes and advance warning of possible Ministry of Defence contracts.’
      • ‘The Clubwatch set-up will let door staff give their counterparts at other venues advance warning of potential troublemakers.’
      • ‘You don't have to fire warning shots, you don't have to aim at the feet, and if it's a military target you usually don't have give advanced warning.’
      • ‘I've given my flatmates advance warning - I'll be a bit sad to give up this flat as it's the best one I've had and has really felt like home for almost a year now.’
      • ‘Lancer Battalion's staff gave us advanced warning of each of the three times we gained visual contact with friendly forces in Sadr City.’
      • ‘They recommend that a link should be provided to the Environment Agency's flood warning system to give residents advance warning in future.’
      • ‘He said they had not noticed any warning signs before going on to the causeway.’
      • ‘Emergency indicators would give advance warning of potential problems that could develop during flight.’
      • ‘Staff at Cusworth are concerned that warning notices alerting park users to the dangers of bathing in the deep lakes have been torn down as soon as they have been put up.’
      • ‘Tsai said the proposed law would resolve one major complaint from the public - that they have no advance warning about the construction of new base towers.’
      • ‘No one predicted this, no one anticipated or had advance warning of this attack.’
      • ‘This provides the driver with advance warning of incidents and snarl-ups ahead.’
      • ‘Most severe weather conditions come with a bit of advance warning, so it pays to plan ahead and book a hotel, just in case of an unexpected overnight layover.’
      • ‘Mr Wells said he did not think two A4 sized notices on the town hall notice board were adequate warning.’
      • ‘Motorists, you see, are going to be given advance warning of the cameras.’
      • ‘Furthermore, about 15 percent of the families reported their dog was able to give advance warning of a seizure, up to 5 hours before an event.’
      notice, advance notice, a word of warning, forewarning, alert
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    3. 1.3 An experience or sight that serves as a cautionary example to others.
      ‘his death should be a warning to everyone’
      • ‘A run down the right followed by a powerful left-footed shot from Pawell Abbott at 21 minutes served warning to Stanley that Preston had their striking boots on.’
      • ‘Homemade Love consists of thirteen short stories about girls who, despite warning and example, fall into the same traps as their parents.’
      • ‘Van Beek said she's hoping her experience will be a warning to others to be careful.’
      • ‘Japan's World War II experience should be a warning to the USA of the predictable consequences of foreign aggression.’
      • ‘Before the visit, guests and hosts should try to discuss their expectations so everyone has fair warning, says Nancy.’
      • ‘The US experience is a warning that the operations of the market may not produce a depth of news analysis that a modern democracy requires.’
      • ‘Now Jody, from Sale, has decided to reveal her frightening experience as a warning to other parents.’
      • ‘Yet the flatness of the plain made stealth impossible: as with the Somme, the Germans knew an attack was imminent and the initial bombardment served as final warning.’
      • ‘But the phrase serves as fair warning to recent arrivals interested in buying and insuring homes here.’
      • ‘Another Open memory will be enough to stir his ambition and serve stark warning to his rivals.’
      • ‘The 20-a-day smoker has vowed never to light up again and is hoping his experience serves as a warning to others.’
      • ‘Reeves notes, too, that the story of Parihaka can serve as inspiration and warning.’
      • ‘But, like the Bible, by its power and its very durability, the story serves warning that we would be fools not to pay attention to it.’


Old English war(e)nung (see warn, -ing).