First time I've asked on this Stack; I hope this is on-topic.

I'm laying out a control panel. One of its functions involves an alarm, but under certain circumstances the alarm might be triggered repeatedly, which is annoying. So there's a button which prevents the alarm happening for a while, which is labelled "[problem] Alarm Silence" - not entirely grammatical, but I'm happy with it in context.

The alarm warns of a potentially expensive mistake, so you don't want to accidentally leave it silenced. So you should manually press this button again when silencing is no longer really necessary, and the control system will also do that for you if it notices you leaving the specific situation that causes multiple alarms. And in any case after a certain length of time.

Underneath the button is an explanatory note which currently says:

Silenced when lit.

Press to re-enable.

Also re-enables automatically.

I think that's clear, but I don't really like the word "re-enable". Can anyone suggest a good alternative, bearing in mind the limited space available on the physical panel? All the replacements I can think of - "activate", for example - imply that they will immediately sound the alarm. That's not what happens; re-enabling just allows the alarm to go off if it wants to, it doesn't actively cause it to sound.

  • Perhaps reactivates? And you can call the silencing deactivates. – bib Feb 29 '16 at 22:22
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    Disabled when lit. Press to enable. (“re-enable” assumes smething about its prior state- no such assumption is required.) – Jim Feb 29 '16 at 22:56
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    Like the surge protector on a power strip, you'd "reset" the button. – Kristina Lopez Feb 29 '16 at 23:23
  • Mash button. See what happens. Actually, I like "reset". +1. – Rob_Ster Mar 1 '16 at 1:47
  • This situation seems to be analogous to a car, where, if you have put the transmission into neutral, you can rev the engine all you want without any energy or force being applied to the wheels.  The operation you're describing corresponds to putting the car back into gear, so, the next time you step on the gas, the car will accelerate.  For some reason the word engage springs to my mind; perhaps this analogy will inspire you to think of other words. – Scott Mar 4 '16 at 6:13

Just enable. No re is needed. It's the status, not the history that you want to convey.


How about press to arm?

To prepare (a weapon or electronic system, such as an alarm) for use or operation, as by releasing a safety device. FOD


What about re-activate? Or do you want to avoid the word activate altogether?

Another possibility is new alarm. That's one of the options associated with a little alarm clock/timer I use on my laptop.


I would use "press to enable sound".

It's probably longer than what you had in mind, but it really is the clearest option.


I would employ the verb restore, or possibly even reinstate, in this context.

Silenced when lit.

Press to restore.

Also reinstates automatically.

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