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alert vs alarm

English translation: to draw attention / a signal that draws attention to something

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:to alert / an alert
English translation:to draw attention / a signal that draws attention to something
Entered by: Mats Wiman
Options:
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09:58 Mar 31, 2002
English to English translations [PRO]
English term or phrase: alert vs alarm
Can an English-speaking native please make a dissertation on this.
I was surprised at the similarity between the two in my cherished Norstedts.
Mats Wiman
Sweden
Local time: 04:21
alarm - alert
Explanation:
There is a degree of overlap. In current usage, an alert is usually less serious than an alarm.

Regarding these as nouns, for now:

An alert is any signal that draws attention to something.

A state of alert refers to an extended period of time during which heightened vigilance remains in force (hence 'red alert' etc).

An alarm is a short warning, drawing instant attention to some danger. It does not, mostly, refer to an extended period.

An alert may start with an alarm. An alarm may go off during a state of alert, e.g. indicating an incident that requires a higher state of alert to come into effect.


Similar comments apply to the verbs: to alert is to draw attention; to alarm is to give someone a sensation of danger or fear.

Selected response from:

John Kinory
Local time: 03:21
Grading comment
All answers spread light on the subject, but John's is definitely brilliant in its structure and clarity.
John! If you disagree on the glossary entry, please tell me!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5alert Vs alarmTBQGS
4 +1Basically agree with the above ...Maria Nicholas
4 +1alarm - alertJohn Kinory
4alert : alarmChris Rowson
3 +1alert vs. alarm
Evert DELOOF-SYS


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
alert Vs alarm


Explanation:
alert - watchful and prompt to meet danger or emergency, quick to perceive and act.

alarm -
1. usually alarum, archaic : a call to arms <the angry trumpet sounds alarum -- Shakespeare>
2 : a signal (as a loud noise or flashing light) that warns or alerts; also : a device that signals <set the alarm to wake me at seven>
3 : sudden sharp apprehension and fear resulting from the perception of imminent danger
4 : a warning notice

HTH
Good luck!



    Reference: http://www.m-w.com
TBQGS
PRO pts in pair: 4
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20 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
alert vs. alarm


Explanation:
Even though I'm not a native English speaker, I find the following explanation to be rather helpful:

Alarm vs. Alert
In the most precise usage, an alarm is an off-normal condition (or state) indicating a performance or equipment degradation or failure.
An alert is an indication of a change (or status) from a normal to an alarm condition or vice versa.
However, the term "alarm" is often used where "alert" would be more accurate. For example, "alarm dialout" actually occurs on changes from alarm to normal as well as from normal to alarm.

http://www.datacore.com/sanindustry/sanind_glossary.asp


Evert DELOOF-SYS
Belgium
Local time: 04:21
Native speaker of: Native in DutchDutch, Native in FlemishFlemish
PRO pts in pair: 8

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  R. A. Stegemann: Moreover, the term alert might not even apply to an alarm condition -- simply a change in status or condition. For example, a news alert -- a changed condition that could lead to an alarm condition, but it is not certain that it will.
1 hr
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
alert : alarm


Explanation:
In the context of high-tech equipment they have a large degree of overlap. But whereas "alarm" ranges from a little serious to very serious, "alert" can be only a warning, and tends not to have the strength of "alarm" for very serious conditions, although it is sometimes used.

For me, alarm cannot be used for a warning condition, and for very serious, I would even say that alarm is more correct.

Alert = make aware
Alarm = signal danger

There are of course quite separate meanings outside this context, e.g. alert = watchful, awake, alarm = alarm clock, just as indicators of the range.

Earlier (hundreds of years ago) alert was stronger, not that different from alarm. For example, the trumpeters who manned city watchtowers were often described as there to sound alerts.

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Note added at 2002-03-31 12:00:25 (GMT)
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P.S. This is Brit. native, but as far as I know AE is not much different, particularly with regard to high-tech, which I know from IT and banking.

Chris Rowson
Local time: 04:21
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 243
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
alarm - alert


Explanation:
There is a degree of overlap. In current usage, an alert is usually less serious than an alarm.

Regarding these as nouns, for now:

An alert is any signal that draws attention to something.

A state of alert refers to an extended period of time during which heightened vigilance remains in force (hence 'red alert' etc).

An alarm is a short warning, drawing instant attention to some danger. It does not, mostly, refer to an extended period.

An alert may start with an alarm. An alarm may go off during a state of alert, e.g. indicating an incident that requires a higher state of alert to come into effect.


Similar comments apply to the verbs: to alert is to draw attention; to alarm is to give someone a sensation of danger or fear.



John Kinory
Local time: 03:21
PRO pts in pair: 48
Grading comment
All answers spread light on the subject, but John's is definitely brilliant in its structure and clarity.
John! If you disagree on the glossary entry, please tell me!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Hermeneutica: YES!!!!!!!! Most clearly explained and even accounts for the alarm clock.
1 hr
  -> OK, OK, it's not my birthday [LOL]. I agree about the alarm clock - the danger here is that of oversleeping. Thanks :-)
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4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Basically agree with the above ...


Explanation:
The only thing I'd add is that, to my general understanding for as long as I have been speaking American English, "alert" is generally a condition before "alarm" and is usually not as serious.

"Alert" tells you you need to be aware of something; "alarm" all-out tells you there is something wrong and that action may be required.

Hope this helps!

Maria Nicholas
Local time: 22:21
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GreekGreek
PRO pts in pair: 17

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Theodore Fink: Agree entirely. All the above are correct, but the easiest way to understand is that when you get an alert - watch out. When you get an alarm, DO SOMETHING!
35 mins
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