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knell

Line breaks: knell
Pronunciation: /nɛl
 
/
literary

Definition of knell in English:

noun

[in singular]
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.
Synonyms
toll, tolling, ringing, chime, clang, dong, peal, stroke, resounding, reverberation, clangour, boom;
archaic knoll, tocsin
1.1Used in reference to an announcement, event, or sound that warns of the end of something: emails and text messages are sounding the knell for the written word
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.
Synonyms
end, beginning of the end, presage of the end, death knell;
death sentence, death warrant;
omen, evil omen, ill omen, portent, warning

verb

[no object] Back to top  
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.

Origin

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

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