There are 2 main definitions of ring in English:


Syllabification: ring
Pronunciation: /riNG


1A small circular band, typically of precious metal and often set with one or more gemstones, worn on a finger as an ornament or a token of marriage, engagement, or authority.
More example sentences
  • The diamond ring and the wedding band Nikolas placed on my finger six months ago blinds me as it catches the sun's rays.
  • There are four branches of the collection of individually-crafted earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings and brooches.
  • She was festooned with bangles, rings, necklaces, earrings and jewellery.
1.1A circular band of any material: fried onion rings
More example sentences
  • Suppose you have a rubber band, an apple and a ring doughnut.
  • John and Vanessa passed on the burgers (they said that they were vegetarians) and munched on some onion rings.
  • We stopped at this Denny's and I ordered a huge cheeseburger, fries, onion rings, and a huge vanilla shake.
circle, band, loop, hoop, halo, disk
1.2 Astronomy A thin band or disk of rock and ice particles around a planet.
More example sentences
  • Besides the planet's multicolored rings and three moons there was little else above the green and blue world.
  • He was the first man to see craters on the moon, sun spots and the rings of Saturn.
  • Was the Federation correct in working with the Son'a to harvest the metaphasic radiation from the rings of the planet?
1.3A circular marking or pattern: black rings around her eyes
More example sentences
  • Several of these craters had rings of black and purple squiggles.
  • She had black rings around her eyes, and was yawning.
  • However, her eyes now had light black rings encircling them from lack of sleep, and he couldn't remember the last time he saw her really eat a decent meal.
1.4 short for tree ring.
More example sentences
  • Brown remarks that the work's structure related to the concentric rings of a tree trunk.
  • I realized she was assessing my back muscles, judging their strength, reading them the way a botanist reads the rings of a tree's trunk.
  • In this way the city grew much like the annular rings of a tree, with successive perimeters being added as population growth dictated.
1.5 [usually as modifier] Archaeology A circular prehistoric earthwork, typically consisting of a bank and ditch: a ring ditch
More example sentences
  • A causewayed ring ditch is a type of prehistoric monument.
2An enclosed space, typically surrounded by seating for spectators, in which a sport, performance, or show takes place: a circus ring
More example sentences
  • The darkness around the arena made it hard for spectators to see the ring.
  • The audience were seated in rows of benches surrounding the ring.
  • Then I picked up my sword, which I had rested on the fence surrounding the ring.
arena, enclosure, field, ground;
amphitheater, stadium
2.1A roped enclosure for boxing or wrestling.
More example sentences
  • The final bout in the boxing ring is genuinely exciting, although the evening seems to tail off, lacking a real ending.
  • Perhaps another tragedy but created not in the flashpoint of the boxing ring but over a phenomenal career was that of Muhammad Ali.
  • The sand was abruptly gone, and he faced the Hulk across a boxing ring, in the gym where a kid with a zip gun once tried to kill Jack McGee.
2.2 (the ring) The profession, sport, or institution of boxing.
More example sentences
  • The Prince was so sold on his own divinity that he used to make the longest, most seriously overblown entrances to boxing arenas in ring history.
  • Molina remains the last great ring star to come out of that one-time great fight town of San Jose, California.
  • Though both are former champions, their three-fight series was not for any ring title.
3A group of people or things arranged in a circle: he pointed to the ring of trees
More example sentences
  • Behind these rings of trees are yet more grassy fields, some wild and overgrown, others kept trim and tidy.
  • The guests form a ring enclosing the bride, Ona, and men dance with her.
  • It was almost possible to see the location of the Palace, at the centre of concentric rings of islands.
circle, group, cluster, bunch, band, throng, crowd, flock, pack
3.1 (in a ring) Arranged or grouped in a circle: everyone sat in a ring, holding hands
More example sentences
  • Twelve or so of them, mostly mages, sat in a ring on the floor.
  • The waiters arrange their exquisite meal for two in a ring around the small table as Munna sits, slumping with defeat.
  • In the end, they all stopped moving and sat down in a ring, waiting for something.
3.2 [usually with modifier] A group of people drawn together due to a shared interest or goal, especially one involving illegal or unscrupulous activity: the police had been investigating the drug ring
More example sentences
  • There was always some sort of gang fights or drug rings or brothels around here.
  • It's a high place of crime, drug rings, and prostitution due to the obvious lack of law enforcement.
  • At first they don't get along, but in the course of investigating a murder, they uncover a drug ring… and a friendship.
gang, syndicate, cartel, mob, band, circle, organization, association, society, alliance, league, coterie, cabal, cell
3.3 Chemistry another term for closed chain.
4A circular or spiral course: they were dancing energetically in a ring
More example sentences
  • In scene 1, Mystic Circles of the Maidens, thirteen women tread in a tight ring at the centre.
  • Under a colorless sky stained with clouds, ten sylphs dance in a ring.
  • ‘We dance round in a ring and suppose / But the Secret sits in the middle and knows,’ wrote the poet Robert Frost.
5 Mathematics A set of elements with two binary operations, addition and multiplication, the second being distributive over the first and associative.
More example sentences
  • Are there (associative, distributive) rings in which the addition is not commutative?


[with object] Back to top  
1Surround (someone or something), especially for protection or containment: the courthouse was ringed with police
More example sentences
  • Police had ringed the theater with Metro buses touching bumper to bumper.
  • Eight fortified guard towers ringed the eight-sided central keep, lining its periphery like the spindly legs of a gigantic spider.
  • ‘It's just over there,’ Mari said as she came over, pointing to a building down the street, ringed in by a chain link fence.
surround, circle, encircle, encompass, girdle, enclose, hem in, confine, seal off
1.1Form a line around the edge of (something circular): dark shadows ringed his eyes
More example sentences
  • Nearby is another Lake Mashu which is ringed by 200 metre high walls.
  • Dark marks ringed the boy's bony wrist, livid against pale flesh.
  • Where his were ringed in dark green, these were colored deep blue, almost black.
1.2Draw a circle around (something), especially to focus attention on it: an area of Tribeca had been ringed in red
More example sentences
  • Ring the correct answer below.
2Put a circular band through the nose of (a bull, pig, or other farm animal) to lead or otherwise control it.
More example sentences
  • Old hands are able to throw with either hand in either direction and will then really impress their spectators by facing away from the hook and swinging in the opposite direction such that upon its return the bull is ringed.


Old English hring, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch ring, German Ring, also to the noun rank1.


run rings around someone

informal Outclass or outwit someone very easily.
More example sentences
  • Huntley replied: ‘I wouldn't say I was running rings round them.’
  • She looked like she was running rings round him in there.
  • We have got to do more because the criminals are running rings around us.

throw one's hat in the ring

see hat.



[in combination]: the five-ringed Olympic emblem


More example sentences
  • I noticed while watching her on television that - unlike her male competitors, who each wore wedding bands - Annie's left hand was ringless.
  • Now, I'm proud to say, it's become quite trendy to be ringless.
  • Is the person in front of you cute, ringless and age-appropriate?

Definition of ring in:

There are 2 main definitions of ring in English:


Syllabification: ring
Pronunciation: /riNG

verb (past rang /raNG/; past participle rung /rəNG/)

1 [no object] Make a clear resonant or vibrating sound: a shot rang out a bell rang loudly (as noun ringing) the ringing of fire alarms
More example sentences
  • Sirens split the night and from everywhere came the sound of people; her clear voice rang out above it all as she sang the words from a song Jag knew very well.
  • At the start of our third year here, Elsa and I were dragging ourselves out of bed as the waking bell rang out cold and clear.
  • Two gunshots rang out like two clear bells in the night as the angel of retribution silently passed.
1.1 [with object] Cause (a bell or alarm) to ring: he walked up to the door and rang the bell
More example sentences
  • Certainly, talking to Popin Pete doesn't ring any gangsta alarm bells.
  • With a kind of detachment, he walked, as casually as he could under the circumstances, towards the door and rung the bell.
  • He carried me right up to the door and rung the bell with difficulty.
1.2(Of a telephone) produce a series of resonant or vibrating sounds to signal an incoming call: the phone rang again as I replaced it
More example sentences
  • Dragging herself from her car that evening and up the walk toward her apartment, she heard the sound of her telephone ringing.
  • Although this scene, like the climax of Halloween, begins in a bedroom, once the telephone rings we enter Krueger's dream world.
  • Stephen was awakened by the telephone ringing next to his head.
1.3Call for service or attention by sounding a bell: Ruth, will you ring for some tea?
More example sentences
  • The house is clearly deserted when the ghost of Marley appears - otherwise Scrooge's first act would be to ring for his servant.
  • The colonel nodded before abruptly turning from his nephew to ring for the nearest servant.
  • Penelope took her eyes away from Adam to ring for a maid, and to ask for tea when she arrived.
1.4 [with object] Sound (the hour, a peal, etc.) on a bell or bells: a bell ringing the hour
More example sentences
  • The clock that hung on the wall rang every hour the sweet peal of chimes.
  • The bell rings its monotonous peal of imprisonment, mocking us for being forced to follow its commands.
  • The bell rings a harsh peal and the girls stop in their tracks.
2 (ring with/to) (Of a place) resound or reverberate with (a sound or sounds): the room rang with laughter
More example sentences
  • ‘The halls rang to laughter, and we had such fun,’ murmured Verdana, sadly.
2.1(Of a person’s ears) be filled with a continuous buzzing or humming sound, especially as the aftereffect of a blow or loud noise: he yelled so loudly that my eardrums rang
More example sentences
  • But if your ears ring after loud noise or your hearing goes a little blurry, that means they are temporarily damaged.
  • My ears were ringing from the loud noise suddenly halting.
  • I stopped halfway through my swing, my ears ringing from the loud sound.
2.2 (ring with) Be filled or permeated with (a particular quality): a clever retort which rang with contempt
More example sentences
  • Her performance has so many qualities and rings with such truth.
  • Intermittent snippets of conversation suggesting rehearsal out-takes rang with a self-consciously clever sitcom snap, ultimately not terribly enlightening or deep.
  • Despite the great quality of its prose, the story itself rings with superficiality, a certain lack of true profundity that can be covered but not overcome.
2.3 [no object, with complement] Convey a specified impression or quality: the author’s honesty rings true
More example sentences
  • For this is not simply a ‘message’ play, but a harrowing account of one family's trauma that rings horribly true.
  • Money was money and the wife would probably do a better job of running away the next time; for the first time, Kratos felt that reasoning ring hollow.
  • It has a story that still rings true today and sports a good handful of excellent performances.
3 [with object] chiefly British Call by telephone: I rang her this morning Harriet rang Dorothy up next day [no object]: I tried to ring, but the lines to Moscow were engaged
More example sentences
  • I gave him the number to ring back, and nothing happened; eventually, pushing my luck, I rang him back.
  • I managed at one time to get to the telephone and ring the Philippines consul in Nicosia, who rang the owners of the taverna and gave them a mouthful.
  • Nothing was worth watching on the television, so he decided to ring Joy on the telephone.


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1An act of causing a bell to sound, or the resonant sound caused by this: there was a ring at the door
More example sentences
  • Rain and I decided to give it four door bell rings before we all had to go in and actually do our job.
  • We walked in through the doorway, and less than a second later, the shrill ring of the bell sounded.
  • Cody was in the middle of a Behind The Music episode on Linkin Park when the door bell's irritating ring drifted to his room.
literary knell
1.1Each of a series of resonant or vibrating sounds signaling an incoming telephone call.
More example sentences
  • Her ears were straining to pick up the sound of the telephone ring.
  • And who wants to have it worsen at the sound of an annoying ring of a telephone?
  • Quinn walked down the hall to a small half circle table against the wall just as the first ring of the telephone sounded.
1.2 [in singular] informal A telephone call: I’d better give her a ring tomorrow
More example sentences
  • No matter if you're here or China, just give me a ring and we can talk.
  • Could she really pick up the phone and give him a ring?
  • But I guess we could give you a ring whenever we practiced for like, more than five minutes.
1.3 [in singular] A loud clear sound or tone: the ring of sledgehammers on metal
More example sentences
  • All she did was raise her blade to meet his, sending a loud ring through the room.
  • The piercing ring seemed to get louder, like the ticking of a bomb about to explode.
  • There was a loud ring, as a hammer on as anvil, and a shower of sparks.
1.4 [in singular] A particular quality conveyed by something heard or expressed: the song had a curious ring of nostalgia to it
More example sentences
  • He had seen, on the previous day, no trace of jealousy or resentment in his betrothed: he could still hear the candid ring of the girl's praise of Mrs. Vervain.
  • She heard the ring of sincerity in King Halion's voice and it made her more frightened than before.
  • The alleged mission to Spain is treated both as fact and failure, like the Athenian one which Luke presents with such a ring of glorious authenticity.
1.5A set of bells, especially church bells.
More example sentences
  • Ring of bells" (or "peal of bells") is a term most often applied to a set of bells hung in the English style, typically for change ringing.


Old English hringan, of Germanic origin, perhaps imitative.


ring a bell

see bell1.

ring the changes

see change.

ring down (or up) the curtain

Cause a theater curtain to be lowered (or raised).
More example sentences
  • They rang down the curtain for the last time Sunday.
Mark the end (or the beginning) of an enterprise or event: the sendoff rings down the curtain on a major chapter in television history
More example sentences
  • We watch for a time, until we're numb, or bored, or angry at the repetitive misery - and then, in the back of the head, cue those violins, the sunset mood, the irrational affirmation that allows us to ring down the curtain.
  • And as criticism of the system mounts by the day across the football world, it may well be that this season's opening will prove the last before FIFA ring down the curtain.
  • Sumter rang down the curtain on the aristocratic republic the founders had created.

ring in one's ears (or head)

Linger in the memory: he left Washington with the president’s praises ringing in his ears
More example sentences
  • Lord Cecil's admonishment still rang in her ears and the memory of the pressure of his fingers on her arm had yet to fade hours after the occurrence.
  • I grew up in a town covered in smog, memories of the legendary Mannion and Hardwick ringing in our ears and the prospect of the club never doing owt.
  • But many Chinese parents feel betrayed when their children leave home, when an ancient poem ‘A good son should not go too far when his parents are alive’ still rings in their ears.

ring in (or out) the new (or old) year

Commemorate the new year (or the end of the previous year) with boisterous celebration.
More example sentences
  • My dad always told me that it was bad luck if you didn't ring in the new year with a kiss.
  • The band's second concert will ring in the new year.
  • On January 1st, 2005 we will ring in the new year with a super disco.

ring off the hook

North American (Of a telephone) be constantly ringing due to a large number of incoming calls.
More example sentences
  • The stupid phone was constantly ringing off the hook and he was tired of it.
  • Additionally, it prevents the camp office from being disrupted because of phones ringing off the hook and from having to call each family contact individually.
  • Friday happens, your phone is ringing off the hook.

Phrasal verbs

ring off

British End a telephone call by replacing the receiver.
More example sentences
  • But - oh, sweet relief - you've somehow managed to grab the receiver before the bearer of important news rings off.
  • ‘Trouble?’ said James when Astor rang off having received details of Wendy's destination.
  • He has perfected the skill of calling just after the alarm has gone off but before I've fully woken up so I never catch it before the machine picks it up, which means I end up running into the lounge before he rings off.

ring round (or around)

British Telephone (several people), typically to find something out or arrange something.
More example sentences
  • He asks her if she's rung round the insurance companies.
  • She said: ‘The first part of the project involved ringing round local businesses to get donations such as soil and plants.’
  • That, and the ignominy of ringing round the houses trying to piece together where I was, who I was with, and what I said that might require the swift delivery of a lavish floral arrangement.

ring something up

Record an amount on a cash register.
More example sentences
  • I dug out a credit card and stood, wordless, as my sale was rung up.
  • Ask salespeople if they will hold your selections until the first day of the sales-tax holiday so they can be rung up without tax.
  • They're also in the express checkout and after all items have been rung up, will suddenly say: ‘Wait, I forgot the milk!’
Make, spend, or announce a particular amount in sales, profits, or losses.
More example sentences
  • In 1997 the royal family took over responsibility for managing its own accounts instead of allowing the taxpayer to foot whatever bill was rung up - and the results have been dramatic.
  • Its analysis concludes that 75% of the losses were rung up by six clubs.
  • Meanwhile, 142 charge calls are rung up in each game, the Spurs could be the fourth seed in the West this spring and Tim Thomas is making $14 million this year for 31 minutes of play.

Definition of ring in: