Beacon

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bea·con / ˈbēkən/ • n. a fire or light set up in a high or prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration: a chain of beacons carried the news fig. the prospect of a new government was a beacon of hope for millions. ∎  a light or other visible object serving as a signal, warning, or guide, esp. at sea or on an airfield. ∎  a radio transmitter whose signal helps to fix the position of a ship, aircraft, or spacecraft.

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beacon the maintenance of a chain of beacons as a warning signal was one of the means of national defence against a possible Spanish invasion in late 16th-century England. From this, beacon came to mean a conspicuous hill suitable for the site of a signal fire (frequently occurring in place-names, as Brecon Beacons, Dunkery Beacon).

Recorded from Old English (in form bēacn) meaning ‘sign, portent’, the word is of West Germanic origin and is related to beckon.


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Beacon, city (1990 pop. 13,243), Dutchess co., SE N.Y., on the E bank of the Hudson River; settled 1663, inc. in 1913 when Fishkill Landing and Matteawan villages were united. Beacon's textile, printing, and other industries have declined, but the opening of Dia:Beacon, the world's largest museum of contemporary art, has stimulated a revival of the city. The Newburgh-Beacon Bridge connects the city with Newburgh on the west bank. An incline railway ascends Mt. Beacon, site of a monument to Revolutionary soldiers who built signal fires to warn of the coming of the British.

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Beacon

Journal presenting the teachings of Alice A. Bailey (1880-1949), former Theosophist who founded her own Arcane School. Address: Lucis Publishing Co., 113 University Pl., 11th Fl., Box 722, Cooper Sta., New York, NY 10017.

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beacon †sign, standard OE.; signal-fire, lighthouse XIV. OE. bēacn = OS. bōkan, OHG. bouhhan :- WGmc. *baukna (Cf. BECKON), of unkn. orig.