- any of the half-hour units of nautical time rung on the bell of a ship.
- each individual ring of the bell, counted with others to reckon the time: It is now four bells.
- a signal on the telegraph of a large power vessel, made between the navigating officers and the engineer.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- to provide what is desired; be satisfactory or successful: This new book just doesn't ring my bell.
- Slang.to arouse sexually or bring someone to orgasm.
- (of a boxer) saved from a knockout by the ringing of a gong signaling the end of a round.
- (of any person) spared from anticipated trouble by some extraneous event.
Origin of bell1
verb (used with or without object)
Origin of bell2
Examples from the Web for bell
Contemporary Examples of bell
The bell tower bellows loudly when a little muscle power is put into it.The Congo's Forgotten Colonial Getaway
December 18, 2014
There was only one phone left and when it would ring, the bell would echo, oddly, off the walls.Alfred Hitchcock’s Fade to Black: The Great Director’s Final Days
December 13, 2014
However, as she feared, The Bell Jar appeared to indifferent notices and the launch—which Ted attended—was rather low-key.Ted Hughes’s Brother on Losing Sylvia Plath
December 2, 2014
“This is important for people in the US,” Bell told The Daily Beast in August.Ted Cruz saves America in This Right-Wing Coloring Book
November 13, 2014
All of that, and the fact that hardly anyone within the state knows who the hell Bell is, and Booker is only polling modestly.The Ugly Truth About Cory Booker, New Jersey’s Golden Boy
October 20, 2014
Historical Examples of bell
When he heard him ring the bell on the second floor, an uneasy expression came over his face.The Goose Man
He said the portrait of Mrs Housman was Bell's chef-d'oeuvre.Passing By
The table was all set and Bridget was just going to ring the bell, but the monkey didn't wait for her.
Quickly she touched a bell, and in the next instant the coach had stopped and the footman was at the open door.
She rang the bell and requested a room immediately, as she wanted to get ready for afternoon service.At Home And Abroad
Margaret Fuller Ossoli
- instruments used formerly in excommunications and other ecclesiastical acts
- informalthe solemn ritual ratification of such acts
Word Origin for bell
Word Origin for bell
Old English belle, common North Sea Germanic (cf. Middle Dutch belle, Middle Low German belle) but not found elsewhere in Germanic (except as a borrowing), from PIE root *bhel- (4) "to sound, roar." Statistical bell curve was coined 1870s in French. Of glasses in the shape of a bell from 1640s. Bell pepper is from 1707, so called for its shape. Bell, book, and candle is a reference to a form of excommunication. To ring a bell "awaken a memory" (1934) is perhaps a reference to Pavlovian experiments.
"attach a bell," late 14c., from bell (n.). Related: Belled; belling. Allusions to the story of the mice that bell the cat (so they can hear him coming) date to 1520s.
In addition to the idiom beginning with bell
- bell the cat, who will
- clear as a bell
- ring a bell
- saved by the bell
- sound as a bell
- with bells on