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Alternative forms[edit]

John William Waterhouse, The Siren, c. 1900


From Middle English siren, itself from Middle French sereine (itself from Late Latin sirena), and from Latin Sīrēn, ultimately from Ancient Greek Σειρήν (Seirḗn).



siren (plural sirens or sirenes)

  1. (Greek mythology) One of a group of nymphs who lured mariners to their death on the rocks.
  2. One who sings sweetly and charms.
  3. A dangerously seductive woman.
  4. (biology) A member of an order of mammals of Sirenia (first attested in French in Dominique Bouhours, Les entretiens d'Ariste et d'Eugène, 1671).
  5. (biology) A member of a genus of aquatic salamanders of the family Sirenidae (originally introduced by Linnaeus, 1766, for a genus of his reptiles), commonly used for all species subsumed under the family of Sirenidae.
  6. (entomology) Any of various nymphalid butterflies of the genus Hestina.
  7. A device, either mechanical or electronic, that makes a piercingly loud sound as an alarm or signal, or the sound from such a device (first recorded 1879).
    • 1898, H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, London: William Heinemann, page 103:
      My attention was diverted from this sight by a furious yelling, like that of the thing called a siren in our manufacturing towns.
    • 1984, Steve Harris, "Aces High", Iron Maiden, Powerslave.
      There goes the siren that warns of the air raid / Then comes the sound of the guns sending flak / Out for the scramble we've got to get airborne / Got to get up for the coming attack.
  8. (music) A musical instrument, one of the few aerophones in the percussion section of the symphony orchestra (patented as Acme Siren in 1895).
  9. An instrument for demonstrating the laws of beats and combination tones.
  10. (astronomy, astrophysics) An astrophysical event that can be used for calculating cosmic distances.


  • (one who sings sweetly and charms): crooner
  • (dangerously seductive woman): See Thesaurus:vamp
  • (device for making a sound alarm): klaxon

Derived terms[edit]



siren (third-person singular simple present sirens, present participle sirening, simple past and past participle sirened)

  1. To make a noise with, or as if with, a siren.



  1. Relating to or like a siren.
    Synonyms: bewitching, enchanting, enticing, sirenic


  • Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield, Massachusetts, G.&C. Merriam Co., 1967




siren (Cyrillic spelling сирен)

  1. masculine singular passive past participle of siriti