noun (used with a plural verb)
Origin of bells
- 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)
Origin of bell1
verb (used with or without object)
Origin of bell2
Related Words for bellsbuzzer, siren, gong, ringer, alarm, buzz, tocsin, ding-dong, peal, toll, carillon, chime, curfew, vesper, clapper, dinger, tintinnabulum
Examples from the Web for bells
Contemporary Examples of bells
And the bells chimed for victory at 1211 Avenue of the Americas.Why I’m for the War on Christmas
December 23, 2014
When the ship hit the rocks, the sound of bells ringing and alarms sounding echoed in the theater.The Costa Concordia’s Randy Reckless Captain Takes the Stand
Barbie Latza Nadeau
December 2, 2014
Buses, vans, and cars sounded their horns, gun salutes rang out, the bells of Westminster Abbey pealed, and everyone cheered.Happy Birthday, Prince George! Will the Wee Royal Be the First King of the 22nd Century?
July 21, 2014
Mountain sheep were everywhere, some sleeping by the road, some foraging, bells ringing from their necks as they moved.Is This Hemingway’s Pamplona or a Lot of Bull?
July 13, 2014
You could strip away the bells and whistles and it would still be a perfectly excellent Mozart biography.Beguiling Books on Steroids Make Interactive Reading a Pleasure
June 27, 2014
Historical Examples of bells
It was the work of only a few seconds to unscrew the bells, which he placed on the desk.Within the Law
When the bells announced midnight, Sidney roused with a start.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Once, when he was a man, he heard some bells chiming musically.The Boy Life of Napoleon
But quickly after, I began to think, 'How if one of the bells should fall?'The Works of Whittier, Volume VI (of VII)
John Greenleaf Whittier
As if in dramatic accord with his words, the bells jangled loudly at the gate.Tiverton Tales
- instruments used formerly in excommunications and other ecclesiastical acts
- informalthe solemn ritual ratification of such acts
Word Origin for bell
Word Origin for bell
"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.
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.
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