- a harbinger of the end, death, or destruction of something.
- passing bell.
Examples from the Web for death knell
Historical Examples of death knell
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.A Pair of Blue Eyes
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.Two Daring Young Patriots
W. P. Shervill
The death-knell rang for all time when the sewing-machine was invented.Chats on Old Lace and Needlework
Emily Leigh Lowes
- something that heralds death or destruction
- a bell rung to announce a death
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.