- a harbinger of the end, death, or destruction of something.
- passing bell.
Examples from the Web for death knell
He could not bear to think that it was possible he might hear his death-knell from the lips he worshipped.Henry Dunbar
M. E. Braddon
The death-knell of an inhabitant of the eastern parish was being tolled.A Pair of Blue Eyes
The words fall like a death-knell on his thoughts and feelings.An Outcast
F. Colburn Adams
He knew, in fact, that his action was probably the death-knell of all the hopes of his crew.Two Daring Young Patriots
W. P. Shervill
The death-knell rang for all time when the sewing-machine was invented.Chats on Old Lace and Needlework
Emily Leigh Lowes
- something that heralds death or destruction
- a bell rung to announce a death
Idioms and Phrases with death knell
Something that indicates impending failure, as in His low scores sounded the death knell for his ambitions. The noun knell, used for the ringing of a bell since at least a.d. 1000, is rarely heard today except in this figurative phrase.