AskDefine | Define semaphore

Dictionary Definition

semaphore n : an apparatus for visual signaling with lights or mechanically moving arms


1 send signals by or as if by semaphore
2 convey by semaphore, of information

User Contributed Dictionary



Borrowed in 1816 from etyl fr sémaphore, coined in French from Ancient Greek σῆμα, and -φωρος, from φέρω.


  • /ˈsɛməˌfɔː/


  1. Any visual signaling system with flags, lights, or mechanically moving arms.
  2. A visual system for transmitting information by means of two flags that are held one in each hand, using an alphabetic code based on the position of the signaler’s arms.
  3. A bit, token, fragment of code, or some other mechanism which is used to restrict access to a shared function or device to a single process at a time, or to synchronize and coordinate events in different processes.


visual signaling system
visual signaling with flags
computing term


  1. or To signal using (or as if using) a semaphore.


to signal using semaphore

Extensive Definition

Semaphore may be:
Optical-telegraph systems:
semaphore in Czech: Semafor
semaphore in German: Semaphor
semaphore in Spanish: Semáforo (desambiguación)
semaphore in French: Sémaphore
semaphore in Italian: Semaforo
semaphore in Hebrew: סמפור
semaphore in Dutch: Semafoor
semaphore in Polish: Semafor
semaphore in Russian: Семафор
semaphore in Swedish: Semafor
semaphore in Vietnamese: Semaphore (định hướng)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Roman candle, aid to navigation, alarm, amber light, balefire, beacon, beacon fire, bell, bell buoy, blinker, blue peter, buoy, caution light, flare, fog bell, fog signal, fog whistle, foghorn, glance, go light, gong buoy, green light, heliograph, high sign, international alphabet flag, international numeral pennant, kick, leer, marker beacon, nod, nudge, parachute flare, pilot flag, poke, police whistle, quarantine flag, radio beacon, red flag, red light, rocket, sailing aid, semaphore flag, semaphore telegraph, sign, signal, signal beacon, signal bell, signal fire, signal flag, signal gong, signal gun, signal lamp, signal light, signal mast, signal post, signal rocket, signal shot, signal siren, signal tower, spar buoy, stop light, the nod, the wink, touch, traffic light, traffic signal, watch fire, white flag, wigwag, wigwag flag, wink, yellow flag
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