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See also: Beacon


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From Middle English beken, from Old English bēacn (sign, signal), from Proto-West Germanic *baukn, 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).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈbiːkən/
  • Rhymes: -iːkən
  • (file)


beacon (plural beacons)

  1. A signal fire to notify of the approach of an enemy, or to give any notice, commonly of warning.
    • 1713, John Gay, The Rural Sports:
      No flaming beacons cast their blaze afar.
  2. (nautical) A signal or conspicuous mark erected on an eminence near the shore, or moored in shoal water, as a guide to mariners.
    1. A post or buoy placed over a shoal or bank to warn vessels of danger; also a signal mark on land. (FM 55-501)
  3. A high hill or other easily distinguishable object near the shore which can serve as guidance for seafarers.
  4. (figurative) That which gives notice of danger, or keeps people on the correct path.
  5. An electronic device that broadcasts a signal to nearby portable devices, enabling smartphones etc. to perform actions when in physical proximity to the beacon.
  6. (Internet) Short for web beacon.

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beacon (third-person singular simple present beacons, present participle beaconing, simple past and past participle beaconed)

  1. (intransitive) To act as a beacon.
  2. (transitive) To give light to, as a beacon; to light up; to illumine.
    • 1801, Thomas Campbell, Lochiel's Warning:
      That beacons the darkness of heaven.
  3. (transitive) To furnish with a beacon or beacons.

Related terms[edit]