If your nose is shining like a beacon, I hope you are a reindeer employed by a jolly fat man from the North Pole.

Beacon comes from an Old English word meaning “sign,” and that's what actual beacons are for lost ships: signs of having made it to land. Beacons are often some kind of light, like the bonfires that the ancient Greeks lit on hillsides to communicate that an army had come home from overseas. You'll also see beacon used figuratively, especially in the phrase “beacon of hope.”

Definitions of beacon

n a fire (usually on a hill or tower) that can be seen from a distance

beacon fire
signal fire, signal light
a fire set as a signal
Type of:
visual signal
a signal that involves visual communication

n a tower with a light that gives warning of shoals to passing ships

beacon light, lighthouse, pharos
Tower of Pharos
a great lighthouse (500 feet high) built at Alexandria in 285 BC
Type of:
a structure taller than its diameter; can stand alone or be attached to a larger building

n a radio station that broadcasts a directional signal for navigational purposes

radio beacon
Type of:
radio station
station for the production and transmission of AM or FM radio broadcasts

v shine like a beacon

Type of:
beam, shine
emit light; be bright, as of the sun or a light

v guide with a beacon

Type of:
conduct, direct, guide, lead, take
take somebody somewhere

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