See more synonyms for chime on
  1. an apparatus for striking a bell so as to produce a musical sound, as one at the front door of a house by which visitors announce their presence.
  2. Often chimes.
    1. a set of bells or of slabs of metal, stone, wood, etc., producing musical tones when struck.
    2. a musical instrument consisting of such a set, especially a glockenspiel.
    3. the musical tones thus produced.
    4. carillon.
  3. harmonious sound in general; music; melody.
  4. harmonious relation; accord: the battling duo, in chime at last.
verb (used without object), chimed, chim·ing.
  1. to sound harmoniously or in chimes as a set of bells: The church bells chimed at noon.
  2. to produce a musical sound by striking a bell, gong, etc.; ring chimes: The doorbell chimed.
  3. to speak in cadence or singsong.
  4. to harmonize; agree: The scenery chimed perfectly with the play's eerie mood.
verb (used with object), chimed, chim·ing.
  1. to give forth (music, sound, etc.), as a bell or bells.
  2. to strike (a bell, set of bells, etc.) so as to produce musical sound.
  3. to put, bring, indicate, announce, etc., by chiming: Bells chimed the hour.
  4. to utter or repeat in cadence or singsong: The class chimed a greeting to the new teacher.
Verb Phrases
  1. chime in,
    1. to break suddenly and unwelcomely into a conversation, as to express agreement or voice an opinion.
    2. to harmonize with, as in singing.
    3. to be consistent or compatible; agree: The new building will not chime in with the surrounding architecture.

Origin of chime

1250–1300; Middle English chymbe belle, by false analysis of *chimbel, Old English cimbal cymbal
Related formschim·er, nounun·chim·ing, adjective


  1. the edge or brim of a cask, barrel, or the like, formed by the ends of the staves projecting beyond the head or bottom.
Also chimb, chine.

Origin of chime

1350–1400; Middle English chimb(e); compare Old English cimbing chime; cognate with Middle Low German, Middle Dutch kimme edge Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for chime

sound, bell, clang, tinkle, boom, toll, strike, jingle, bong, knell, dong

Examples from the Web for chime

Contemporary Examples of chime

Historical Examples of chime

  • He sung out like a singing-master, but I did not stop to chime in.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • A clock inside the hall began to chime midnight, and he turned on his heel.

  • The first batch of answers from the Chime came by an evening mail.

    Cap'n Eri

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • They left two or three story papers and that Chime thing when they went away.

    Cap'n Eri

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

  • When would the chime of the Christ-bell peal over land and sea?

British Dictionary definitions for chime


  1. an individual bell or the sound it makes when struck
  2. (often plural) the machinery employed to sound a bell in this way
  3. Also called: bell a percussion instrument consisting of a set of vertical metal tubes of graduated length, suspended in a frame and struck with a hammer
  4. a harmonious or ringing soundthe chimes of children's laughter
  5. agreement; concord
    1. to sound (a bell) or (of a bell) to be sounded by a clapper or hammer
    2. to produce (music or sounds) by chiming
  1. (tr) to indicate or show (time or the hours) by chiming
  2. (tr) to summon, announce, or welcome by ringing bells
  3. (intr foll by with) to agree or harmonize
  4. to speak or recite in a musical or rhythmic manner
Derived Formschimer, noun

Word Origin for chime

C13: probably shortened from earlier chymbe bell, ultimately from Latin cymbalum cymbal



chimb chine (tʃaɪn)

  1. the projecting edge or rim of a cask or barrel

Word Origin for chime

Old English cimb-; related to Middle Low German kimme outer edge, Swedish kimb
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

Word Origin and History for chime

c.1300, chymbe "cymbal," from Old English cymbal, cimbal, also perhaps through Old French chimbe or directly from Latin cymbalum (see cymbal, the modern word for what this word originally meant). Evidently the word was misinterpreted as chymbe bellen (c.1300) and its sense shifted to "chime bells," a meaning attested from mid-15c.


mid-14c., chyme, from chime (n.). Originally of metal, etc.; of voices from late 14c. To chime in originally was musical, "join harmoniously;" of conversation by 1838. Related: Chimed; chiming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper