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2017 Word of the Year

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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for peal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Sometimes all the bells which compose a peal tell their various uses.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • At that moment, to his excessive astonishment, the organ began to peal forth.

    The Channings Mrs. Henry Wood
  • A moment of stunned quiet had succeeded the peal of thunder.

    The Gentleman From Indiana Booth Tarkington
  • Our eyes met, and Adelaide burst into a peal of harsh laughter.

    The First Violin Jessie Fothergill
  • Ned never forgot the peal of laughter which came from his parents.

  • It seemed to have spent itself in one flash of lightning and one peal of thunder.

    The Night Riders Ridgwell Cullum
  • Just then there came through the air a peal of happy laughter.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • Then the church bells began to peal, and Csar made a prolonged A—hm!

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • From the distance the peal of the bell reached them faintly.

    Mistress Wilding Rafael Sabatini
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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