Meaning of WARNING in English


I. warn ‧ ing 1 S3 W2 /ˈwɔːnɪŋ $ ˈwɔːrn-/ BrE AmE noun

1 . [uncountable and countable] something, especially a statement, that tells you that something bad, dangerous, or annoying might happen so that you can be ready or avoid it

warning of

a warning of floods

warning about

warnings about the dangers of smoking

warning against

This experience should serve as a warning against complacency.

warning to

a warning to pregnant women not to drink alcohol

a warning that grey squirrels are threatening the existence of red squirrels

2 . [countable] a statement telling someone that if they continue to behave in an unsatisfactory way, they will be punished:

The Surrey team were given a warning last year for repeated offences.

I’m giving you a final warning – don’t be late again.

written/verbal warning

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■ verbs

▪ give a warning

He slammed on the brakes without giving any warning.

▪ issue a warning (=officially warn people)

The government issued a warning about eating raw eggs.

▪ deliver/sound a warning (=give a public warning)

The chairman sounded a warning that jobs could be lost.

▪ heed a warning (=take notice of it)

Drivers failed to heed warnings about fog.

▪ ignore a warning

He had ignored their warning to stay in the car.


▪ advance/prior warning

Workers were given no advance warning of the closure.

▪ fair warning

He was given fair warning that such behaviour would not be tolerated.

▪ a stern warning

I got a stern warning against giving false information to the police.

▪ a stark warning

Cigarette packets carry the stark warning ‘smoking kills’.

▪ a health warning (=a warning that something is bad for your health)

All tobacco products must carry a health warning.

▪ a flood/gale/tornado warning

A flood warning has been issued for the River Wye in Herefordshire.

■ phrases

▪ without (any) warning

Police fired into the crowd without warning.

▪ a word of warning (=used before telling someone to be careful about something)

A word of warning: don’t use too much glue.

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▪ warning something that you say or do to tell people about danger, or to tell them not to do something:

All cigarette packets carry a government health warning.


She ignored her parents' warnings.


The army issued a warning that anyone who was out on the streets after dark was likely to be shot.

▪ caution formal an official warning or a piece of advice telling you to be careful:

Caution: do not install electrical equipment near or around water sources.


The video begins with a caution that you must do some warm-up exercises first.

▪ tip-off informal a warning that someone is about to do something, especially one given to the police about a crime:

Police were called to the hotel after a tip-off.

▪ alert a warning to be ready for possible danger that may happen soon:

Twelve flood alerts have been issued to areas along the River Severn.


a fire alert


The ambulance services were on red alert (=they were ready to take action immediately) .

▪ advisory formal an official warning or notice that gives information about a dangerous situation:

The air pollution gets so bad on some days that health advisories are posted at park entrances.

▪ caveat formal a warning that something may not be completely true, effective etc. Also used when pointing out that it is important to remember something:

The woman was offered treatment, but with the caveat that it had only a 30% chance of success.


One caveat is that you must take the goods back to the shop within 14 days.


There is one important caveat to this argument.

II. warning 2 BrE AmE adjective [only before noun]

1 . a warning action or thing tells you that something bad or dangerous might happen:

Red warning lights were flashing.

The government ignored all the warning signs.

a warning look/glance

She said nothing but gave him a warning look.

2 . warning bell/bells used to say that something makes someone start to be worried or careful about something

a warning bell rings/sounds

As she read his letter, warning bells began to sound in her head.

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■ warning + NOUN

▪ a warning sign

Don’t ignore the warning signs of stress.

▪ a warning shot

Troops fired warning shots over the heads of demonstrators.

▪ a warning light

Red warning lights were flashing.

▪ a warning look/glance

She gave me a warning look, but I carried on.

▪ a warning gesture

He put his finger to his lips in a warning gesture.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.