1 sign/action/sound that sends a message
clear, unmistakable
agreed, prearranged
conflicting, confusing, contradictory, mixed

Laughing when you should be crying sends out the wrong signals to people.

alarm, danger, distress, warning
hand, non-verbal, smoke, visual
turn (AmE)
busy (AmE) (engaged tone in BrE)

All I get is a busy signal when I dial his number.

buy, sell (both business)

A strong buy signal was issued to traders.

give (sb), make, send, send out

When I give the signal, run!

interpret, read

The brain interprets the signals from the retina as light.

interpret sth as

The remark was interpreted as a signal that their government was ready to return to the peace talks.

pick up, respond to

Interviewers quickly learn to pick up non-verbal signals.

act as

The insect's yellow spots act as a warning signal to its predators.

come from sth

Try to read the signals coming from the patient.

indicate sth

the signals that can indicate danger

at a signal, on a signal

At a prearranged signal, everyone started cheering.

signal for

She made a signal for the car to stop.

signal from, signal to

Wait for the signal from the leader of your group.

2 set of lights for drivers
railroad (AmE), railway (BrE), traffic
be on red/green, be red/green

The traffic signals were on red.

box (BrE)
failure (BrE)
3 series of radio waves, chemical messages, etc.
faint, weak
high-frequency, low-frequency
input, output
acoustic, analogue/analog, audio, chemical, digital, electrical, electronic, GPS, light, radar, radio, satellite, sonar, sound, television, TV, video, wireless
carry, pass, relay

The nerves carry these signals to the brain.

amplify, boost
convert (sth into), scramble

The signal is scrambled into code before it is sent.

decode, encode
emit, generate, produce, send, transmit
detect, pick up, receive, respond to

This equipment can detect very low-frequency signals.

block, jam

It is possible to jam GPS signals in battle.


The digital signal travels down wires to the server.

A light signal can travel well over 16 km before it halves in intensity.

intensity, strength
signal from

a faint signal from the satellite

signal to
1 move your arms to give a signal

I saw her signal frantically to us.


He raised his hand to signal for the waiter.


She tried to signal to the bus driver to stop.

2 show/mark sth

These changes clearly signal the end of the welfare state as we know it.

effectively (esp. BrE)

A change of mind effectively signals a change in overall policy.

not necessarily

A fall in demand does not necessarily signal the death of the industry.

appear to, seem to

These events appeared to signal the end of an era.

try to
be intended to, be meant to

This address was meant to signal a change in policy.

Signal is used with these nouns as the subject: ↑bell
Signal is used with these nouns as the object: ↑approach, ↑arrival, ↑beginning, ↑dawn, ↑desire, ↑determination, ↑emergence, ↑end, ↑move, ↑onset, ↑readiness, ↑return, ↑shift, ↑start, ↑turn, ↑turning point, ↑willingness

Collocations dictionary. 2013.

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