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beacon (BEE-kuhn) noun

1. A signaling or guiding device, such as a lighthouse, located on a coast.

2. A radio transmitter that emits a characteristic guidance signal for aircraft.

3. A source of guidance or inspiration.

4. A signal fire, especially one used to warn of an enemy's approach.

verb tr.

To provide with or shine as a beacon.

[Middle English beken, from Old English beacen.]

"As well, environmentalists are concerned that the proposed array of beacons could entice animals from winter hibernation and cause flowers to bloom prematurely." Peter Calamai, Space mirror not just a flashy idea, The Toronto Star, 3 Feb 1999.

"Shortly after my mother died, I saw a white sparrow on the lawn at a relative's house. I had never seen a white sparrow; nor have I since... I wanted the sparrow to be some beacon of hope, a quiet nod between two old friends. " Taylor, Angela E, Silences Between Mothers and Daughters, Contemporary Women's Issues Database, 1 Nov 1998.

This week's theme: Words from the names of newspapers.


Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty. -Stanislaw J. Lee

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