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death knell

See more synonyms for death knell on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a harbinger of the end, death, or destruction of something.
  2. passing bell.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for death knell

Historical Examples

  • He could not bear to think that it was possible he might hear his death-knell from the lips he worshipped.

    Henry Dunbar

    M. E. Braddon

  • The death-knell of an inhabitant of the eastern parish was being tolled.

  • The words fall like a death-knell on his thoughts and feelings.

    An Outcast

    F. Colburn Adams

  • He knew, in fact, that his action was probably the death-knell of all the hopes of his crew.

  • The death-knell rang for all time when the sewing-machine was invented.


British Dictionary definitions for death knell

death knell

death bell

noun
  1. something that heralds death or destruction
  2. a bell rung to announce a death
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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

Idioms and Phrases with death knell

death knell

Something that indicates impending failure, as in His low scores sounded the death knell for his ambitions. The noun knell, used for the ringing of a bell since at least a.d. 1000, is rarely heard today except in this figurative phrase.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.