At an old work-site I heard alarms that went off too frequently described as "chattering alarms", which is the best term I can think of so far.

Chattering alarms (alarms that repeat excessively in a short time interval) create a level of nuisance to the operator. - src

However it's not quite right because I'd like something that maybe captures how it becomes ignored.

I also don't particularly mean it in a "boy who cried wolf" scenario in that eventually the alarm will be important, moreso just that when someone's constantly being warned or advised, they just tune it out as insignificant.

Thanks in advance!

  • In sociology of science, obliteration by incorporation (OBI) occurs when at some stage in the development of a science, certain ideas become so accepted and common-use that their contributors are no longer cited.
    – Matsmath
    Aug 16, 2016 at 21:15
  • In media it's called excessive overexposure.
    – Helmar
    Aug 16, 2016 at 21:21
  • 3
    Habituation - english.stackexchange.com/questions/48484/…strong text Aug 16, 2016 at 21:25
  • My bloody burglar alarm. Aug 16, 2016 at 22:35
  • You will get dozens of answers from different disciplines. Which is why Single Word Requests require specific context and a sample sentence which gives a specific instance of how you want to use the word. Here's one common term - nuisance alarm
    – Phil Sweet
    Aug 16, 2016 at 23:02

2 Answers 2


I suggest false alarm. Any time the majority of alarms are false, tends to cause alarm fatigue and the subsequent ignoring of them.


For a short form, Peter K's false alarm is good; in a narrative context there is also the fable of The Boy who Cried Wolf.

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