Word of The Day for Sunday, February 6, 2011


toc•sin (TOK-sin)  n

1. an alarm bell or the ringing of it
2. a warning signal

1586; from M.Fr. toquassen "an alarm bell, the ringing of an alarm bell" (late 14c.), from O.Prov. tocasenh, from tocar "to strike" (from V.L. *toccare "strike a bell;") + senh "bell, bell note," from L.L. signum "bell, ringing of a bell," in Latin "mark, signal." The current English spelling is from 1794, adopted from modern French

Synonyms: alarm, alert, bell, horn, sign, signal, siren, warning
Related Words: touch; sign, signal

Sentence Examples:
• Similes are very well in their way. None can be sufficient in this case without levelling a finger at the taxpayer--nay, directly mentioning him. He is the key of our ingenuity. He pays his dues; he will not pay the additional penny or two wanted of him, that we may be a step or two ahead of the day we live in, unless he is frightened. But scarcely anything less than the wild alarum of a tocsin will frighten him.  -Beauchamp's Career, George Meredith

• The tocsin of insurrection tolls its dismal knell in the towers of Paris. Through scenes surpassing fable, the king and his family escape to the hospitable shores of England. Here, in obscurity and exile, he reaches the end of life's journey, and passes away to the unknown of the spirit-land.  -Louis Philippe, John S.C. Abbott

• Ring the tocsin--call all the citizens
  To save their country--never yet has Paris
  Forsook the representatives of France.
-Literary Remains, Coleridge

Sources: Merriam-Webster, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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