From Middle English beken, from Old English bēacen (“sign, signal”), from Proto-Germanic *baukną (compare West Frisian beaken (“buoy”), Dutch baken (“beacon”), Middle Low German bāke (“beacon, sign”), German Bake (“traffic sign”), Middle High German bouchen (“sign”)), perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeh₂u-, *bʰeh₂- (“to shine”).
beacon (plural beacons)
- A signal fire to notify of the approach of an enemy, or to give any notice, commonly of warning.
- No flaming beacons cast their blaze afar.
- (nautical) A signal or conspicuous mark erected on an eminence near the shore, or moored in shoal water, as a guide to mariners.
- A high hill or other easily distinguishable object near the shore which can serve as guidance for seafarers.
- (figuratively) That which gives notice of danger.
- Modest doubt is called / The beacon of the wise.
- An electronic device that broadcasts a signal to nearby portable devices, enabling smartphones etc. to perform actions when in physical proximity to the beacon.
- (intransitive) To act as a beacon.
- (transitive) To give light to, as a beacon; to light up; to illumine.
- That beacons the darkness of heaven.
- (transitive) To furnish with a beacon or beacons.