- 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
Related Words for bellbuzzer, siren, gong, ringer, alarm, buzz, tocsin, ding-dong, peal, toll, carillon, chime, curfew, vesper, clapper, dinger, tintinnabulum
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
The show, Bell Hooks argued in Black Looks: Race and Representation, “represents wom[e]n as the object of a phallocentric gaze.”Science-Fiction TV Finds a New Muse: Feminism
November 29, 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
Historical Examples of bell
There was no bell in the room, so that was the only way I had of doing it.
Accordingly he walked up boldly to the door, and rang the bell.
Hester had seen him from the window, and she answered the bell herself.
A bell had been tinkling nearer and nearer on the road ahead.
Fifty-two runs since yesterday at this time, and the bell still ringing.
- 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