Definition of peal in English:

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Pronunciation: /piːl/


1A loud ringing of a bell or bells: the bell rang again, a long, loud peal
More example sentences
  • I'll bet it was welcomed with peals of bells back in 1820.
  • Several London churches are mentioned in the rhyme, and the original tune mimicked the peals of their bells.
  • Late one Friday night a note was slipped through his door warning him there would be a non-stop peal of bells for three hours from 10 am the next morning and suggesting he went out.
chime, carillon, ring, ringing, knell, toll, tolling, sound, sounding, death knell, clang, boom, resounding, reverberation, change, touch
archaic tocsin
rare tintinnabulation
1.1 Bell-ringing A series of changes (strictly, at least five thousand) rung on a set of bells.
Example sentences
  • As the organist plays the Prelude and Fugue in E Flat by Bach, the bells of the Abbey will be rung half-muffled to a peal of Stedman Caters, comprising 5101 changes.
  • Maxwell Davies's Stedman Caters for chamber ensemble and Stedman Doubles for clarinet and percussion are based on bell peals.
  • Yesterday, the celebrations continued with a Jubilee service at St Peter's Church, in Malton, which was followed by a peal of the bells in honour of the Queen's 50th year on the Throne.
1.2A set of bells.
Example sentences
  • 27m high and octagonal in plan, the tower contains a full peal of eight bells on its third floor.
  • 25 years ago: A new peal of bells arrived at St Martin's Church, Coney Street, to replace bells damaged when the church was bombed in 1941.
  • There are only 10 bells, whereas most English cathedrals have a full peal of 12.
2A loud repeated or reverberating sound of thunder or laughter: Ross burst into peals of laughter
More example sentences
  • From the kitchen, she could hear peals of laughter sounding where Robert, the butler, was doubtless entertaining her younger siblings.
  • These shows only lasted a few seconds but were always followed by thunderous peals of laughter, especially by the ‘artist’ himself.
  • I was then seized by sudden peals of laughter which echoed and resounded through the rusting steel roof of the building.
shriek, shout, scream, howl, gale, fit, eruption, ripple, roar, hoot
rumble, roar, boom, rumbling, crash, clap, crack, resounding, reverberation


[no object]
1(Of a bell or bells) ring loudly or in a peal: all the bells of the city began to peal
More example sentences
  • What's more, the chord sequence, which gently reveals itself to be church bells pealing in the distance, is completely and devastatingly the emotional heart of the thing.
  • Bells pealed across Monaco yesterday as the principality praised Prince Albert II's rise to the throne and bid a final symbolic farewell to his late father Rainier III.
  • Just a day after the enclave gathered to choose the successor to John Paul II, white smoke plumed from the Vatican's Sistine Chapel and the bells pealed across Rome.
ring, ring out, chime, chime out, clang, toll;
sound, clash, bong, clink, ding, jingle;
boom, resound, reverberate
1.1(Of laughter or thunder) sound in a peal: Aunt Edie’s laughter pealed around the parlour
More example sentences
  • By now, the thunderstorm was fully upon them, with thunder pealing across the sky and lightening streaking all around them as a punishing rain fell.
  • Shasa's face didn't change, but her laughter pealed in their mind's ears.
  • A short silence reigned for a few seconds before amused female laughter pealed out.
rumble, roar, boom, crash, resound, reverberate
1.2 [with object] Convey by the ringing of bells: the carillon pealed out the news to the waiting city


Late Middle English: shortening of appeal.

  • appeal from Middle English:

    Recorded first in legal contexts, appeal comes via Old French from Latin appellare ‘to address, accost, call upon’. Peal (Late Middle English) is a shortening of appeal, perhaps from the call to prayers of a ringing bell. The base of appeal is Latin pellere ‘to drive’, found also in compel ‘drive together’; dispel ‘drive apart’; expel ‘drive out’; impel ‘drive towards’; and impulsive; propel ‘drive forwards’; repel ‘drive back’, all Late Middle English. It is also the source of the pulse (Middle English) that you can feel on your wrist and is related to push (Middle English). The other kind of pulse, an edible seed, is a different word, which comes via Old French from Latin puls ‘porridge of meal or pulse’, related to the sources of both pollen and powder.

Words that rhyme with peal

allele, anele, anneal, appeal, Bastille, Beale, Castile, chenille, cochineal, cockatiel, conceal, congeal, creel, deal, eel, Emile, feel, freewheel, genteel, Guayaquil, heal, heel, he'll, keel, Kiel, kneel, leal, Lille, Lucille, manchineel, meal, misdeal, Neil, O'Neill, ordeal, peel, reel, schlemiel, seal, seel, she'll, spiel, squeal, steal, steel, Steele, teal, underseal, veal, weal, we'll, wheel, zeal

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