- 1A hollow metal object, typically in the shape of a deep inverted cup widening at the lip, that sounds a clear musical note when struck, especially by means of a clapper inside: the church bells tolled a bell tinkled as he went in the shop [as modifier]: a bell towerMore example sentences
- Played loud, it's almost too much, like having your head stuffed inside a recently struck church bell, but it's a deep, fulfilling listen at any volume.
- The church bells' clear notes floated throughout the town, calling the people to prayer.
- He partook of a leisurely breakfast, and set off to the sound of church bells in the clear air.
- 1.1A device that includes or sounds like a bell, used to give a signal or warning: a bicycle bellMore example sentences
- The warning bell rang signaling two minutes before their next class.
- The warning bell for dinner rang, signaling for the household to start getting ready for dinner.
- Having just begun a fearsome maths test I still remember the surge of relief when the electric bell sounded its continuous warning.
- 1.2 (the bell) (In boxing and other sports) a bell rung to mark the start or end of a round: they were dragged off each other at the final bellMore example sentences
- Two minutes after the bell for round one, Liston was the new undisputed champ.
- Just as the bell ended the fifteenth round, Frazier put his hands up and yelled something at Ali.
- Right before the bell for the first round the anticipation was high.
- 2.1The end of a trumpet.More example sentences
- He made me an unbelievable trumpet with carvings and designs and a big double bell, like a space-age trumpet.
- The bell of the trumpet is decorated with a garland bearing the maker's name and the place where the instrument was made.
- Researchers in Germany have been looking carefully at the after glow of the big bang and have decided that the universe is shaped like a trumpet bell.
- 2.2The corolla of a bell-shaped flower: a flower with small pale blue bellsMore example sentences
- Great black bees make their way from the bell of one flower to the petals of the next.
- The citron yellow or red tinged flowers are also worth having, hanging bells on tall stalks that dance in the wind and give way to upright seed heads for autumn interest.
- Salvia confertiflora is a half-hardy salvia with delicate orange bells along its stem.
- 3 (bells) A musical instrument consisting of a set of metal tubes of different lengths, suspended in a frame and played by being struck with a hammer. Also called tubular bells.More example sentences
- Working with sampled bells, gongs and prepared piano, he then uses electronic equipment to process this first layer and continues to build up his compositions.
- He planted the two harps in front of the orchestra, on either side of his rostrum, and banished bells and drums to the unseen backstage.
- The overture is similar to its more illustrious counterpart from Tchiakovsky and it also has bells in its final moments.
- 4 Nautical (Preceded by a numeral) the time as indicated every half hour of a watch by the striking of the ship’s bell one to eight times: at five bells in the forenoon of June 11More example sentences
- The bell tolled the last of eight bells in the afternoon on Dolphin.
- Hornblower left the first watch at four bells, entered the cabin, and sat writing in the log by the light of a single candle and the ceiling lantern.
- Eight bells brought him back from the run before the wind.
verbBack to top
- 1 [with object] Provide with a bell or bells: (as adjective belled) animals in gaudy belled harnessesMore example sentences
- She readjusted her jingling belled hat.
- He tilted his head, his belled hat jingling faintly, when the king just sputtered, red-faced, instead of answering his question.
- Oh yes, and health inspectors should be belled like lepers.
- 2.1 [with object] British • informal Telephone (someone): no problem, I’ll bell her tomorrowMore example sentences
- I'll bell you or you bell me tonight about arrangements for tomorrow.
- She belled me tonight to see if you girls have any advice.
- 3 [no object] Spread outwards like the lip of a bell: her shirt belled out behindMore example sentences
- He was wearing a red V-neck shirt with long sleeves that belled out near the hands, white jeans, and black slip-on shoes with thick white socks.
- It had a low cut V-neck, and the sleeves belled out into dramatic triangular petals.
- Her green dress belled out around her with the speed of his dancing, and she felt like magic…
bell the cat
- Take the danger of a shared enterprise upon oneself.[an allusion to a fable in which the mice (or rats) suggest hanging a bell around the cat's neck to have warning of its approach]More example sentences
- Warner is to be lauded for his courage to bell the cat, albeit at the eleventh hour, and close this unfortunate chapter in the country's footballing history, by replacing St Clair.
- But the burning question is: who will bell the cat?
- Though the industry had been deliberating at length over the crisis for long, they failed to evolve a consensus and ultimately the exhibitors had to step in to bell the cat.
bells and whistles
- • informal Attractive additional features or trimmings: the company is putting bells and whistles on its notebook computer[an allusion to the various bells and whistles of old fairground organs]More example sentences
- It has enough bells and whistles to satiate special effects fans, but not too many to cheapen the overall film.
- If you can live without the latest bells and whistles, then used equipment may be for you.
- They want an integrated system with all the bells and whistles of high-end storage as standard features.
be saved by the bell
- (In boxing and other sports) be saved from being counted out by the ringing of the bell at the end of a round.More example sentences
- He was knocked down twice in the ninth round and was saved by the bell.
- He was saved by the bell from a fourth round knock-out.
- In the ninth round the champion was saved by the bell.
- Escape from a difficult situation narrowly or by an unexpected intervention.More example sentences
- As with most other remarkable escapes, Morgan is saved by the bell.
- They were saved by the bell when a courtly looking man, most likely a bodyguard, showed up out of nowhere, went up to the podium, and promptly announced that there was a bomb threat on the building.
- I was saved by the bell and reached for salvation before anyone else dreamed of moving - they were trying to wake up from their peaceful slumber.
(as) clear (or sound) as a bell
- Perfectly clear (or sound): Aunt Nora’s words came clear as a bellMore example sentences
- ‘Hi, this is Roger,’ said my buddy Roger - his voice clear as a bell on the answer phone.
- When I got up the next morning, the dream was still clear as a bell, and it continues to stay with me until this day.
- It switches between being clear as a bell, and being murky and distant.
give someone a bell
- British • informal Telephone someone: tell him to give me a bell at the garageMore example sentences
- If you want the address of a chiropractor, give me a bell.
- I'm just giving you a bell to see if you've got anything or not.
- ‘Well if you ever want someone to play keyboards give us a bell,’ he said.
ring a bell
- • informal Sound vaguely familiar: the name rings a bellMore example sentences
- If the name rings a bell, it is because he might have helped you buy a book, film or album.
- While her name might not ring a bell in the minds of most people, the festival will screen a ‘snippet’ from her body of work titled ‘Harlequin’.
- One of the country's legendary tenor saxophone players, his name might not ring a bell for those who are not in tune with Jazz in India, but he deserves to be remembered.
with bells on
- North American • informal Enthusiastically: everybody’s waiting for you with bells onMore example sentences
- I mean, even if she didn't feel well, she would be there with bells on.
- I'll be there with bells on, I promise - but what about the game?
- The audience is likely to show up for ‘A Christmas Classique,’ by pianist Lorie Line and her pop chamber orchestra, with bells on.
Old English belle, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bel, and perhaps to bell2.
- The characteristic cry of a stag or buck at rutting time.More example sentences
- Our guides will have you listen to the bell of the stag at the mating season or observe the animals from watch towers.
- We organise evening visits to the animal reserve on these two special weekends to listen to the stag's bell and the clashing of the antlers as the animals fight.
verb[no object] Back to top
- (Of a stag or buck) make a cry at rutting time.More example sentences
- The wood in the half-light waking at daybreak to the belling of stags that bursts into barks.
- During the rut in October and November you can hear the stags belling or roaring.
- My very earliest memories are of picnics with my mother beneath the great trees in Richmond Park in London, of red deer stags belling in rut, of lightning and thunder.
Old English bellan 'to bellow', of Germanic origin; related to German bellen 'to bark, bray', and perhaps also to bell1.