[ bel-free ]
See synonyms for belfry on
noun,plural bel·fries.
  1. a bell tower, either attached to a church or other building or standing apart.

  2. the part of a steeple or other structure in which a bell is hung.

  1. a frame of timberwork that holds or encloses a bell.

  2. Slang. head; mind: a belfry full of curious notions.

Idioms about belfry

  1. have bats in one's belfry. bat2 (def. 3).

Origin of belfry

1225–75; Middle English belfray, apparently blend of earlier berfray (<Middle French <Germanic ) and Medieval Latin belfredus, dissimilated variant of berefredus<Germanic; compare Middle High German ber(c) frit, equivalent to berc defense, protection, refuge (cognate with Old English gebeorg;see harbor) + frit peace, (place of) safety (cognate with Old English frith)

Words Nearby belfry Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use belfry in a sentence

  • A tablet in the belfry commemorates the ringing of a peal of 726 changes in twenty-six minutes.

  • The belfry window on each face is divided into three lights with coupled shafts.

  • From the top of the belfry one looks down on what is practically a medival city.

    Belgium | George W. T. (George William Thomson) Omond
  • The carillon rung from the belfry, guns were fired, and a ceremony in honour of the event took place in the Htel de Ville.

    Belgium | George W. T. (George William Thomson) Omond
  • At each end there is a turret; and the belfry, a square with towers at the corners, rises from the centre of the building.

    Belgium | George W. T. (George William Thomson) Omond

British Dictionary definitions for belfry


/ (ˈbɛlfrɪ) /

nounplural -fries
  1. the part of a tower or steeple in which bells are hung

  2. a tower or steeple: Compare campanile

  1. the timber framework inside a tower or steeple on which bells are hung

  2. (formerly) a movable tower for attacking fortifications

Origin of belfry

C13: from Old French berfrei, of Germanic origin; compare Middle High German bercfrit fortified tower, Medieval Latin berfredus tower

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with belfry


see bats in one's belfry.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.