From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishsignalsig‧nal1 /ˈsɪɡnəl/ ●●● S2 W2 noun [countable] 1 SIGN/GESTUREa sound or an action that you make in order to give information to someone or tell them to do somethingsignal (for somebody) to do something When she got up from the table, it was obviously the signal for us to leave. At a prearranged signal the lights went out. → smoke signal► see thesaurus at sign2 SIGN/INDICATIONan event or action that shows what someone feels, what exists, or what is likely to happensignal (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 danger signals of a heart attacksend/give out a signal We don't want to give out the wrong signal to investors.3 TCBa series of light waves, sound waves etc that carry an image, sound, or message, for example in radio or televisionsend/transmit a signal This new pay-TV channel sends signals via satellite to cable companies.receive/pick up/detect a signal a small antenna which can receive radio signals The coastguard picked up a distress signal from a freighter 50 miles out at sea.4 TTTa 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 at busy1(4)COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 2: an event or action that shows what someone feels, what exists, or what is likely to happenADJECTIVES/NOUN + signala clear/strong signalMy body was giving me a clear signal that something was wrong.a warning/danger/alarm signal (=a signal showing that there is danger)Managers should keep a watchful eye open for the danger signals.the wrong signals (=ones that do not give a true account of a situation)Reducing the penalty for marijuana use perhaps sends the wrong signal to teenagers.mixed signals (=ones that are confusing because they seem to show two different things)Our culture gives girls mixed messages about food, with skinny models and fast-food commercials competing for attention. verbssend/give out a signalThe use of the army sends out a clear signal to protesters that their actions will not be tolerated.read the signals (=to understand signals correctly)President Nixon read the signals and decided it was time to resign.COLLOCATIONS – Meaning 3: a series of light waves, sound waves etc that carry an image, sound, or message, for example in radio or televisionverbssend (out)/transmit a signalThe signals are transmitted via satellites.emit a signal (=sends one out)The device emits a signal which can be picked up by a submarine.receive/pick up a signalThe antenna that will pick up the signals is a 12-metre dish.carry a signal (=allow it to travel along or through something)Copper wires carry the electrical signals.a signal travels (=goes across space, along a wire etc)The signal travels over the cable network.ADJECTIVES/NOUN + signalstrongI can’t use my phone because the signal isn’t strong enough here.weak/faintThe signals were too weak for the receiver to pick up.a radio/electrical/radar signalA transmitter connected to the door bell sends radio signals to a portable receiver.a digital signalDigital signals can be compressed to take up less space.
Examples from the Corpussignal• This ability to adjust signals is a mechanism for learning.• The telephone changes sound waves into electrical signals.• Moma Parsheen had sent the exterminatus signal just over a week earlier.• Stock brokers use roughly 300 hand signals on the trading floor.• The biggest surprise was the sudden reappearance of the radio signals.• As humans we can transmit messages to each other by speaking, writing, morse code, semaphore and smoke signals.• During mating season, female butterflies respond to subtle signals from the males.• We just sat there, waiting for the signal to turn green.• The soldiers were waiting for the signal to start firing.• Don't start yet - wait until I give the signal.• When the insect is ready to mature, juvenile hormone secretion must stop and allatostatin provides the signal.• When I nod my head, that's the signal for you to start playing the music.• It can fine-tune the signal the receptors pass on, and it can change the number of receptors.• That was the signal for us to leave.• The signals just get louder and louder.signal (for somebody) to do something• He tapped Oliver's arm and signalled him to follow.• Your negative attitude may be the best signal you have to begin rebuilding a relationship before it is too late.• The footmen looked relieved to see me, and I immediately signalled them to get to their positions.• She signalled the nomes to follow her.• Echoes of the signal alert them to possible prey, at ranges up to 80-90 metres in shallow waters.• That was the signal for us to leave.• These signals falsely indicated to the on board systems that the spacecraft was safely on the surface.• The best early warning signal is to be aware of your own attitude.signal (that)• The unemployment figures are a signal that the economy is improving.• Then he became instrumental in a signal deliverance for his country.• For the hopeful, increased use of leave signals social progress, greater sharing by fathers.• The current cell state determines the response rather than the particular signal.• You of course have your own list of physical signals.• This is to ensure that you saw the signal.• Many analysts fault Oxygen's decision to charge cable operators to carry their signals for its failure to take off.• This signal can be either excitatory or inhibitory.• George Salem of Prudential Securities is one who signals caution, however.signal failure• A signalling failure is believed to have been the cause.• Driver training should emphasise signal failures and their reporting.