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illustration Tocsin



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Old French, 16th century


An alarm bell or signal.

Examples of Tocsin in a sentence

"We awoke every morning to the blaring tocsin of the alarm in our neighbor’s apartment."

"The flooding was the tocsin our county needed to take coastal erosion more seriously."

About Tocsin

“Tocsin” is based on the Old French “toquesain,” which combined the Old Occitan roots “tocar” (meaning “to strike”) and “senh” (meaning “bell”).

Did you Know?

In modern terms, a “tocsin” can refer to any kind of alarm, whether literal or figurative. Historically, though, a tocsin was specifically an alarm sounded by bells. Prior to modern communication, a tocsin could be used to warn residents of an entire city of important events. The word comes from Old French, so tocsins were notably sounded during the French Revolution, and then, during the Cold War of the 20th century, the “alert” implication of the term was applied in English-speaking countries to describe that era’s tensions and concerns.

illustration Tocsin

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