Alarums-and-excursions meaning

ə-lärəmz, -lăr-
Loud, frantic, or excited activity; clamor.
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The sounds of war or warlike activity. Used as a stage direction for moving of soldiers across stage, as in Shakespeare's plays.
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All the sounds and activities of preparations for war.
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In general, any frantic activity.
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Origin of alarums-and-excursions

  • Early Modern English sudden attacks and sallies

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition