Definition for SIG'NAL

SIG'NAL, n. [Fr. signal; Sp. señal; from L. signum.]

A sign that gives or is intended to give notice; or the notice given. Signals are used to communicate notice, information, orders and the like, to persons at a distance, and by any persons and for any purpose. A signal may be a motion of the hand, the raising of a flag, the firing of a gun, or of any thing which being understood by persons at a distance, may communicate notice. Signals are particularly useful in the navigation of fleet and in naval engagements. There are day-signals, which are usually made by the sails, by flags and pendants, or guns; night-signals, which are lanterns, disposed in certain figures, or false fires, rockets, or the firing of guns; fog-signals, which are made by sounds, as firing of guns, beating of drums, ringing of bells, &c. There are signals of evolution, addressed to a whole fleet, to a division or to a squadron; signals of movements to particular ships; and signals of service, general or particular. Signals used in an army are mostly made by a particular beat of the drum, or by the bugle. – Mar. Dict. Encyc.

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