American English

Definition of signal noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

      

    signal

     noun
    noun
    NAmE//ˈsɪɡnəl//
     
     
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  1. 1a movement or sound that you make to give someone information, instructions, a warning, etc. synonym sign a danger/warning/distress etc. signal At an agreed signal they left the room. The siren was a signal for everyone to leave the building. When Igive the signal, run! All I get is a busy signal when I dial his number (= his phone is being used). hand signals (= movements that cyclists and drivers make with their hands to tell other people that they are going to stop, turn, etc.)
  2. 2an event, an action, a fact, etc. that shows that something exists or is likely to happen synonym indication The rise in inflation is a clear signal that the government's policies are not working. This latest decision is a signal of a major change in policy. Reducing prison sentences would send the wrong signals to criminals. Thesaurussignindication symptom symbol indicator signalThese are all words for an event, an action, or a fact that shows that something exists, is happening, or may happen in the future.sign an event, action, or fact that shows that something exists, is happening, or may happen in the future:Headaches may be a sign of stress.indication (somewhat formal) a remark or sign that shows that something is happening or what someone is thinking or feeling:They gave no indication as to how the work should be done.sign or indication?An indication often comes in the form of something that someone says; a sign is usually something that happens or something that someone does.symptom a change in your body or mind that shows that you are not healthy; a sign that something exists, especially something bad:A sore throat may be a symptom of an ear infection. The rise in inflation was just one symptom of the poor state of the economy.symbol a person, an object, or an event that represents a more general quality or situation:The dove is a universal symbol of peace.indicator (somewhat formal) a sign that shows you what something is like or how a situation is changing:the economic indicators Healthy skin is an indicator of overall well-being.signal an event, an action, or a fact that shows that something exists, is happening, or may happen in the future:This latest decision is a signal of a major change in policy. Reducing prison sentences would send the wrong signals to criminals.sign or signal?Signal is often used to talk about an event, an action, or a fact that suggests to someone that they should do something. Sign is not usually used in this way:Reducing prison sentences would send the wrong signs to criminals.Patterns a(n) sign/indication/symptom/symbol/indicator/signal of something a(n) sign/indication/symptom/indicator/signal that… a clear sign/indication/symptom/symbol/indicator/signal an obvious sign/indication/symptom/symbol/indicator an early sign/indication/symptom/indicator/signal an outward sign/indication/symbol to give a(n) sign/indication/signal
  3. 3 a piece of equipment that uses different colored lights to tell drivers to go slower, stop, etc., used especially on railroads and roads traffic signals a stop signal Delays are occurring as a result of signal failure on the northbound line.
  4. 4 a series of electrical waves that carry sounds, pictures, or messages, for example to a radio, television, or cell phone TV signals a high frequency signal a radar signal to detect/pick up signals to emit a signal I couldn't get a signal on my cell phone. The satellite is used for transmitting signals around the world.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: signal