false alarm









false alarm


noun

  1. a false report of a fire in progress to a fire department.
  2. something that excites unfounded alarm or expectation: Rumors of an impending transit strike proved to be a false alarm.

noun

  1. a needless alarm given in error or with intent to deceive
  2. an occasion on which danger is perceived but fails to materialize

A warning signal that is groundless, made either by mistake or as a deliberate deception. For example, The rumor that we were all going to get fired was just a false alarm, or Setting off a false alarm is a criminal offense. This expression, first recorded in 1579, today is often used for a report of a nonexistent fire.

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