Definition of knell in English:

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Pronunciation: /nel/


1The sound of a bell, especially when rung solemnly for a death or funeral.
Example sentences
  • I was sure anyone within five miles would have heard it the way they hear a church bell's knell or a train's whistle.
  • The very word is like a knell, signalling the approach of death.
  • As the knell died away, a black flag slowly rose up the mast and stopped half-way.
toll, tolling, dong, resounding, reverberation;
archaic tocsin
1.1Used in reference to an announcement, event, or sound that warns of the end of something: the decision will probably toll the knell for the facility
More example sentences
  • If you fear this may be just one more story to sound a warning knell about the IT skills shortage - not to worry.
  • The huntsman's horn sounded the final knell when the last traditional hunt by the Tedworth came to en end.
end, beginning of the end, death knell, death warrant


[no object]
1(Of a bell) ring solemnly, especially for a death or funeral.
1.1 [with object] Proclaim (something) by or as if by a knell.
Example sentences
  • I could almost hear the two-tone foghorns knelling my demise.


Old English cnyll (noun), cnyllan (verb); related to Dutch knal (noun), knallen (verb) 'bang, pop, crack'. The current spelling (dating from the 16th century) is perhaps influenced by bell1.

Words that rhyme with knell

Adele, Aix-la-Chapelle, aquarelle, artel, au naturel, bagatelle, béchamel, befell, bell, belle, boatel, Brunel, Cadell, carousel, cartel, cell, Chanel, chanterelle, clientele, Clonmel, compel, Cornell, crime passionnel, dell, demoiselle, dispel, dwell, el, ell, Estelle, excel, expel, farewell, fell, Fidel, fontanelle, foretell, Gabrielle, gazelle, gel, Giselle, hell, hotel, impel, lapel, mademoiselle, maître d'hôtel, Manuel, marcel, matériel, mesdemoiselles, Michel, Michelle, Miguel, misspell, morel, moschatel, Moselle, motel, muscatel, nacelle, Nell, Nobel, Noel, organelle, outsell, Parnell, pell-mell, personnel, propel, quell, quenelle, rappel, Raquel, Ravel, rebel, repel, Rochelle, Sahel, sardelle, sell, shell, show-and-tell, smell, Snell, spell, spinel, swell, tell, undersell, vielle, villanelle, well, yell

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: knell

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