- the sound made by a bell rung slowly, especially for a death or a funeral.
- a sound or sign announcing the death of a person or the end, extinction, failure, etc., of something: the knell of parting day.
- any mournful sound.
- to sound, as a bell, especially a funeral bell.
- to give forth a mournful, ominous, or warning sound.
- to proclaim or summon by, or as if by, a bell.
Origin of knell
Examples from the Web for knelling
Historical Examples of knelling
Faintly out of the frosty air was wafted the knelling of midnight.Memoirs of a Midget
Walter de la Mare
If he were sighted from above, what should stay those bells from knelling for him.The Unknown Sea
"You are forty-two, you are old, you are nobody," was knelling through her brain.The Bell in the Fog and Other Stories
Her lover, hearing the knelling and chanting, puts himself in the way and bids the bearers stop.
These are mournful, but somewhat hopeful strains; for one who feels that "time has long been knelling, sad one, depart!"The Genius of Scotland
- the sound of a bell rung to announce a death or a funeral
- something that precipitates or indicates death or destruction
- (intr) to ring a knell
- (tr) to proclaim or announce by or as if by a tolling bell
Word Origin for knell
Old English cnyll "sound made by a bell when struck or rung slowly," perhaps of imitative origin. The Welsh cnull "death-bell" appears to be a borrowing from English. For vowel evolution, see bury.
Old English cnyllan "to toll a bell; strike, knock," cognate with Middle High German erknellen "to resound," Old Norse knylla "to beat, thrash;" probably imitative. Related: Knelled; knelling.
see death knell.