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peal

[peel] /pil/
noun
1.
a loud, prolonged ringing of bells.
2.
a set of bells tuned to one another.
3.
a series of changes rung on a set of bells.
4.
any loud, sustained sound or series of sounds, as of cannon, thunder, applause, or laughter.
verb (used with object)
5.
to sound loudly and sonorously:
to peal the bells of a tower.
6.
Obsolete. to assail with loud sounds.
verb (used without object)
7.
to sound forth in a peal; resound.
Origin of peal
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English pele, akin to peal to beat, strike (now dial.)
Related forms
interpeal, verb (used with object)
unpealed, adjective
Can be confused
peal, peel.
Synonyms
4. reverberation, resounding, clangor.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for peal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This peal will go 120 Changes, and by making Bobs, as many as above.

  • Just at this moment came a peal of ringing laughter from the garden.

    Curious, if True Elizabeth Gaskell
  • The sound of the clock in the Calvinist church tower mingled with the peal of the alarm-bells.

  • In less than twenty, and the cheer of victory rising from her deck will peal from shore to shore!

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • A distant, very distant, peal of thunder was heard at this moment.

    Four Ghost Stories Mrs. Molesworth
  • But the truth had broken upon him like a peal of thunder at midday.

    The Riflemen of the Miami Edward S. Ellis
  • A peal of merry laughter answered her, and the knives and forks fell to the plates with a clatter.

  • At this, old Polyphemus went into a Homeric peal of laughter.

    The Martian George Du Maurier
  • After a keen glance he suddenly broke into a peal of discordant laughter, which died away into a savage and menacing growl.

    The Bishop's Secret Fergus Hume
British Dictionary definitions for peal

peal1

/piːl/
noun
1.
a loud prolonged usually reverberating sound, as of bells, thunder, or laughter
2.
(bell-ringing) a series of changes rung in accordance with specific rules, consisting of not fewer than 5000 permutations in a ring of eight bells
3.
(not in technical usage) the set of bells in a belfry
verb
4.
(intransitive) to sound with a peal or peals
5.
(transitive) to give forth loudly and sonorously
6.
(transitive) to ring (bells) in peals
Word Origin
C14 pele, variant of apeleappeal

peal2

/piːl/
noun
1.
a dialect name for a grilse or a young sea trout
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 peal
n.

mid-14c., "a ringing of a bell" especially as a call to church service, generally considered a shortened form of appeal (n.), with the notion of a bell that "summons" people to church (cf. similar evolution in peach (v.)). Extended sense of "loud ringing of bells" is first recorded 1510s.

v.

1630s, from peal (n.). Related: Pealed; pealing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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