1. One who informs on another; a talebearer.
2. Something that indicates or reveals information; a sign.
3. Any of various devices that indicate or register information, especially:
a. A time clock.
b. Nautical A length of yarn or ribbon attached to a shroud, stay, or sail of a sailboat, as to indicate the direction of the wind or the strength of the flow of air over the sail.
c. A row of strips hung above a railroad track to warn a passing train of low clearance ahead.
4. Sports A resonant metal strip, 24 or 30 inches (61 or 76 centimeters) high, across the bottom of the front wall of a racquets or squash court above which the ball must be hit.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.