sig|nal1 W2S3 [ˈsıgnəl] n
[Date: 1300-1400; : Old French; Origin: signale, from Medieval Latin, from Late Latin signalis 'of a sign', from Latin signum; SIGN1]
1.) a sound or action that you make in order to give information to someone or tell them to do something
signal (for sb) to do sth
When she got up from the table, it was obviously the signal for us to leave.
The headmaster gave the signal to begin.
At a pre-arranged signal the lights went out.
2.) an event or action that shows what someone feels, what exists, or what is likely to happen
signal (that)
These results are a signal that the child may need special help.
signal of
The opinion poll is a clear signal of people's dissatisfaction with the government.
The display flashed a red warning signal .
A red flag is often used as a danger signal.
send/give a signal
This will send the wrong signal to potential investors.
3.) a series of light waves, sound waves etc that carry an image, sound, or message, for example in radio or television
send (out)/transmit/emit a signal (to sb)
This new pay-TV channel sends signals via satellite to cable companies.
In the 1970s it was illegal to transmit fax signals via the public telephone system.
receive/pick up/detect a signal
a small antenna which receives radio signals
The Coast Guard picked up a distress signal from a freighter 50 miles out at sea.
4.) a piece of equipment with coloured lights, used on a railway to tell train drivers whether they can continue or must stop
a stop signal
a signal failure (=when these lights do not work)
busy signal atbusy1 (4)
signal 2
signal2 v past tense and past participle signalled present participle signalling BrE past tense and past participle signaled present participle signaling AmE
1.) [I and T]
to make a sound or action in order to give information or tell someone to do something
She signalled, and the waiter brought the bill.
The whistle signalled the end of the match.
signal at
Mary signalled wildly at them, but they didn't notice.
signal to
The judge signaled to a police officer and the man was led away.
signal for
He pushed his plate away and signalled for coffee.
signal (to) sb to do sth
She signalled to the children to come inside.
signal that
The bell signaled that school was over.
2.) [T]
to make something clear by what you say or do - used in news reports
Both sides have signaled their willingness to start negotiations.
British sources last night signalled their readiness to talk.
signal (that)
The Prime Minister's speech today signals that there will be a shake-up in the cabinet.
3.) [T]
to be a sign that something is going to happen
signal the start/beginning/end of sth
the lengthening days that signal the end of winter
to show the direction you intend to turn in a vehicle, using the lights
American Equivalent: indicate
Signal before you pull out.
signal 3
signal3 [i]adj [only before noun] formal
[Date: 1600-1700; : French; Origin: signalé, past participle of signaler 'to show a difference between', from Old Italian segnalare, from Medieval Latin signale; SIGNAL1]
signal achievement/success/failure etc
The university has done me the signal honour of making me an Honorary Fellow.

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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