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signal - definition and synonyms

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noun [countable]     signal pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    a movement or sound made by someone that has a special meaning to another person
    signal to:

    He gave a signal to his driver to carry on.

    at a signal:

    At the prearranged signal, we all jumped up and shoutedSurprise!”

    do something as a signal (of something):

    They waved a flag as a signal of distress.

    mixed/conflicting signals (=signals that have different meanings):

    She knew she was sending him mixed signals.

    give (someone) a signal:

    We waited for them to give us the signal to move.

  2. 2
    a fact, event, or action that shows what someone intends to do or shows what is likely to happen
    signal of:

    They had ignored the strong signals of an approaching economic crisis .

    give/send a signal:

    In terms of their personal relationships, teachers have to be very careful not to send students the wrong signals.

    signal for/to:

    The election was a signal for the party to rethink its strategies.

    read the signals (=understand their meaning correctly):

    When she told him she was leaving, Bill wasn’t surprised – he had read the signals.

  3. 3
    pictures, sound, or other information sent by one piece of electronic equipment and received by another one

    I’ve called several times, but I keep getting a busy signal.

    carry a signal:

    The copper wire carries the electrical signals.

    See also busy signal
  4. 4
    a piece of equipment with colored lights on it that tells the driver of a vehicle to stop, go, or slow down

    The signal was green.

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