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[kou-bel] /ˈkaʊˌbɛl/
a bell hung around a cow's neck to indicate its whereabouts.
the bladder campion.
Origin of cowbell
First recorded in 1805-15; cow1 + bell1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for cowbell
Historical Examples
  • It was as good as a cowbell for letting the world know one's whereabouts.

    The Tale of Mrs. Ladybug

    Arthur Scott Bailey
  • No, suh; it was a buzzard with a cowbell on his neck—that's whut it was.

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm Irvin S. Cobb
  • "I'll stake a cowbell that Sevier will stop at the Widow Brown's," he replied.

    The Crossing Winston Churchill
  • Some distance away, they could hear the dinging of a cowbell.

  • My companion said it was a wolf; I said it was a dog; but soon we heard a cowbell.

    Wilford Woodruff Matthias F. Cowley
  • A cowbell—that was it; but why did it seem to come from overhead, from up in the sky, like?

  • The doctor found a Swiss cowbell on the mantelpiece and rang it wildly.

    General Bramble Andr Maurois
  • Then a cowbell tinkled, causing Mrs. Weems to shake and tremble.

    Clue of the Silken Ladder Mildred A. Wirt
  • The tinkling of a cowbell warned them that they were approaching a human habitation.

    The Angel of the Gila: Cora Marsland
  • Not even the breachiest of breachy young heifers could be expected to tinkle a cowbell with such briskness.

    The Escape of Mr. Trimm Irvin S. Cobb
British Dictionary definitions for cowbell


a bell hung around a cow's neck so that the cow can be easily located
a metal percussion instrument usually mounted on the bass drum or hand-held and struck with a drumstick
(US) another name for bladder campion
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cowbell

1650s, American English, from cow (n.1) + bell (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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