What does SOS mean?

Definitions for SOSˈɛsˌoʊˈɛs

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word SOS.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. SOS(noun)

    an internationally recognized distress signal in radio code


  1. SOS(Noun)

    The conventional Morse code call made by a ship in distress.

    The keel has been scuppered uE000130217uE001 send out an SOS.

  2. SOS(Noun)

    a children's game involving placing S's and O's on a grid, and collecting points by creating an "SOS" sequence, played with alternating turns by opponents.

  3. Origin: Contraction of so + is


  1. SOS

    SOS is the commonly used description for the international Morse code distress signal. This distress signal was first adopted by the German government in radio regulations effective April 1, 1905, and became the worldwide standard under the second International Radiotelegraphic Convention, which was signed on November 3, 1906 and became effective on July 1, 1908. SOS remained the maritime radio distress signal until 1999, when it was replaced by the Global Maritime Distress Safety System. SOS is still recognized as a visual distress signal. From the beginning, the SOS distress signal has really consisted of a continuous sequence of three-dits/three-dahs/three-dits, all run together without letter spacing. In International Morse Code, three dits form the letter S, and three dahs make the letter O, so "SOS" became an easy way to remember the order of the dits and dahs. In modern terminology, SOS is a Morse "procedural signal" or "prosign", and the formal way to write it is with a bar above the letters: SOS. In popular usage, SOS became associated with such phrases as "save our ship", "save our souls" and "send out succour". These may be regarded as mnemonics, but SOS does not actually stand for anything and is not an abbreviation, acronym or initialism. In fact SOS is only one of several ways that the combination could have been written; VTB, for example, would produce exactly the same sound, but SOS was chosen to describe this combination. SOS is the only 9-element signal in Morse code, making it more easily recognisable, as no other symbol uses more than 8 elements.

Suggested Resources

  1. sos

    Song lyrics by sos -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by sos on the Lyrics.com website.

  2. SOS

    What does SOS stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the SOS acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of SOS in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of SOS in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Mehmet Murat ildan:

    Praying is sending an SOS to the heavenly unknown.

  2. Laura Boldrini:

    These women are shouting for help, they are sending out an SOS.

Images & Illustrations of SOS


Translations for SOS

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for SOS »


Find a translation for the SOS definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these SOS definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"SOS." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 19 Feb. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/SOS>.

Are we missing a good definition for SOS? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for SOS:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.