a hollow instrument of cast metal, typically cup-shaped with a flaring mouth, suspended from the vertex and rung by the strokes of a clapper, hammer, or the like.
the stroke or sound of such an instrument: We rose at the bell.
anything in the form of a bell.
the large end of a funnel, or the end of a pipe, tube, or any musical wind instrument, when its edge is turned out and enlarged.
Architecture. the underlying part of a foliated capital.
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.
Zoology. umbrella (def. 2).
Botany. the bell-shaped corolla of a flower.
Metallurgy. a conical lid that seals the top of a blast furnace and lowers to admit a charge.
to cause to swell or expand like a bell (often followed by out): Belling out the tubes will permit a freer passage of air.
to put a bell on: Should we bell the wreath so we'll know when he opens the front door?
British Informal. to telephone: If I have time, I’ll bell you from the office.
to take or have the form of a bell.
Botany. to produce bells; be in bell (said of hops when the seed vessels are forming).
Idioms about bell
bell the cat. cat (def. 19).
ring a bell, to evoke a memory, especially a vague or partial recollection; remind one of something: His name rings a bell but I can't remember him.
ring someone's bell,
to deliver a serious blow to the head.
to be or provide what is desired, enjoyed, or preferred by someone:Historical fiction just doesn't ring my bell.
Slang. to arouse sexually or bring someone to orgasm.
get/have one's bell rung,
to receive a serious blow to the head:He'd had his bell rung one too many times playing professional sports.
to be aroused sexually or be brought to orgasm.
ring the bell,
to win; take the prize:The camera lingered on the face of the coach as it registered that her team had at last rung the bell.
to succeed with or win over people:Despite its promising start, the company has not yet designed a product that rings the bell.
saved by the bell,
(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.
with bells on, Informal. eagerly; ready to enjoy oneself: Just say when, and we'll be there with bells on.
- bell-less, adjective
Other definitions for bell (2 of 3)
to bellow like a stag in rutting time.
to bay, as a hunting dog.
the cry of a rutting stag or hunting dog.
Other definitions for Bell (3 of 3)
Ac·ton [ak-tuhn], /ˈæk tən/, pen name of Anne Brontë.
Alexander Graham, 1847–1922, U.S. scientist, born in Scotland: inventor of the telephone.
(Arthur) Clive (Howard), 1881–1964, English critic of literature and art.
Cur·rer [kur-er], /ˈkɜr ər/, pen name of Charlotte Brontë.
Ellis, pen name of Emily Brontë.
James Thomas "Cool Papa", 1903–91, U.S. baseball player, a Negro Leagues outfielder noted for his speed.
John, 1797–1869, U.S. political leader: Speaker of the House 1834–35.
a city in SW California, near Los Angeles.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024
How to use bell in a sentence
The options with bells and whistles aren’t necessarily what the professionals would recommend, but they can be the easiest to use.The best knife sharpener to keep your blades safe and effective | Edmund Torr | February 25, 2021 | Popular-Science
While they may not have bells and whistles, they can keep your feet warm for short outdoor activities.Best heated socks: The absolute warmest socks for cold conditions | PopSci Commerce Team | February 25, 2021 | Popular-Science
Instead, bus drivers will have to perform “double-runs” for elementary, middle and high schools, which means some kids will arrive at school after the first bell and other kids will get home later than they did pre-pandemic.Arlington, Alexandria move forward with school reopening plans | Hannah Natanson | February 19, 2021 | Washington Post
Last year, bell and Schwarber each saw his OPS fall off the cliff.The Nationals, like the rest of us, want to forget about 2020. That might be pretty smart. | Thomas M. Boswell | February 10, 2021 | Washington Post
The Drop ENTR doesn’t boast any major bells and whistles, but it’s one of the best tenkeyless mechanical keyboards you can buy for less than $100.Best mechanical keyboard: Game, code, type, and work smoother and faster | PopSci Commerce Team | February 4, 2021 | Popular-Science
The bell tower bellows loudly when a little muscle power is put into it.
Movie buffs have commented endlessly on the bell-tower sequence in Vertigo.
There was only one phone left and when it would ring, the bell would echo, oddly, off the walls.
In Vertigo there's a strange cut in the first bell-tower sequence.
However, as she feared, The bell Jar appeared to indifferent notices and the launch—which Ted attended—was rather low-key.
I was rather awed by his imposing appearance, and advanced timidly to the doors, which were of glass, and pulled the bell.Music-Study in Germany | Amy Fay
When the whole hunt is hunting up, each single change is made between the whole hunt, and the next bell above it.Tintinnalogia, or, the Art of Ringing | Richard Duckworth and Fabian Stedman
Keep closely covered with a bell glass and, in a few weeks, more or less, the baby Ferns will start to put in an appearance.How to Know the Ferns | S. Leonard Bastin
Mrs. Vivian had hardly spoken when the sharp little vibration of her door-bell was heard in the hall.Confidence | Henry James
Every bell lies four times together before, and four times behind, except only when the extream changes are made behind.Tintinnalogia, or, the Art of Ringing | Richard Duckworth and Fabian Stedman
British Dictionary definitions for bell (1 of 3)
a hollow, usually metal, cup-shaped instrument that emits a musical ringing sound when struck, often by a clapper hanging inside it
the sound made by such an instrument or device, as for showing the hours or marking the beginning or end of a period of time
an electrical device that rings or buzzes as a signal
the bowl-shaped termination of the tube of certain musical wind instruments, such as the trumpet or oboe
any musical percussion instrument emitting a ringing tone, such as a glockenspiel, one of a set of hand bells, etc: Compare chime 1 (def. 3)
nautical a signal rung on a ship's bell to count the number of half-hour intervals during each of six four-hour watches reckoned from midnight. Thus, one bell may signify 12.30, 4.30, or 8.30 a.m. or p.m
See diving bell
biology a structure resembling a bell in shape, such as the corolla of certain flowers or the body of a jellyfish
British slang a telephone call (esp in the phrase give someone a bell)
beat seven bells out of or knock seven bells out of British informal to give a severe beating to
bell, book, and candle
instruments used formerly in excommunications and other ecclesiastical acts
informal the solemn ritual ratification of such acts
ring a bell to sound familiar; recall to the mind something previously experienced, esp indistinctly
sound as a bell in perfect condition
the bells the ringing of bells, in a church or other public building, at midnight on December 31st, symbolizing the beginning of a new year
to be or cause to be shaped like a bell
(tr) to attach a bell or bells to
bell the cat to undertake a dangerous mission
British Dictionary definitions for bell (2 of 3)
a bellowing or baying cry, esp that of a hound or a male deer in rut
to utter (such a cry)
British Dictionary definitions for Bell (3 of 3)
Acton, Currer (ˈkʌrə), and Ellis . pen names of the sisters Anne, Charlotte, and Emily Brontë: See Brontë
Alexander Graham . 1847–1922, US scientist, born in Scotland, who invented the telephone (1876)
Sir Francis Henry Dillon . 1851–1936, New Zealand statesman; prime minister of New Zealand (1925)
Gertrude (Margaret Lowthian). 1868–1926, British traveller, writer, and diplomat; secretary to the British High Commissioner in Baghdad (1917–26)
Joshua. born 1967, US violinist
Dame (Susan) Jocelyn, married name Jocelyn Burnell, born 1943, British radio astronomer, who discovered the first pulsar
Vanessa, original name Vanessa Stephen . 1879–1961, British painter; a member of the Bloomsbury group, sister of Virginia Woolf and wife of the art critic Clive Bell (1881–1964)
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
Scientific definitions for Bell
Scottish-born American scientist and inventor whose lifelong interest in the education of deaf people led him to conceive the idea of transmitting speech by electric waves. In 1876 his experiments with a telegraph resulted in his invention of the telephone. He later produced the first successful sound recorder, an early hearing aid, and many other devices.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with bell
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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.