There are 2 main definitions of ring in English:

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ring 1

Line breaks: 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: a diamond ring he had a silver ring on one finger a bishop’s ring
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.
wedding ring, band of gold, marriage token
1.1 Ornithology , British An aluminium strip secured round a bird’s leg to identify it: I put a numbered ring on each bird’s leg
More example sentences
  • It is then possible for a bird to wear more than one ring on its leg.
2A ring-shaped or circular object: an inflatable rubber ring 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, circlet, band, round, loop, hoop, circuit, halo, disc
2.1A circular marking or pattern: she had black rings round 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.
2.2A group of people or things arranged in a circle: a ring of trees everyone sat in a ring, holding hands
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, knot, cluster, bunch, band, gathering, throng, crowd, flock, assemblage, mob, pack
2.3A 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.
2.4chiefly British A flat circular device forming part of a gas or electric hob, providing heat from below: a gas ring
More example sentences
  • A higher-wattage gas ring is designed to handle the shape and heat demands of a convex shaped wok with ease.
  • Each table has its own gas ring, and you cook the beef as you need it, then dip the paper-thin slices in chilli or sesame sauce.
2.5 Astronomy A thin band or disc of rock and ice particles round a planet: Saturn’s rings
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?
2.6 short for tree ring.
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.
2.7 short for ring road. through traffic is diverted along the outer ring
More example sentences
  • O'Callaghan said UEP would also consider funding part of the proposed outer ring motorway to help alleviate congestion.
2.8 [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.
2.9 vulgar slang A person’s anus.
Example sentences
  • Why is 'ring' a colloquial name for anus in the North East of England?
3An enclosed space, 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, area, field, ground, platform;
amphitheatre, colosseum, stadium
3.1A roped enclosure for boxing or wrestling: a boxing ring he was knocking me all around the ring
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.
3.2 (the ring) The profession, sport, or institution of boxing: Fogerty quit the ring to play professional rugby league
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.
4A group of people engaged in a shared enterprise, 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, organization, confederation, confederacy, federation, union, association, circle, society, combine, consortium, alliance, league, cabal, cell, coterie, crew, junta
5 Chemistry A number of atoms bonded together to form a closed loop in a molecule: a benzene ring
More example sentences
  • Unlike other groups of lipids, steroids have a molecular structure which contains rings of atoms.
  • Carbon nanotubes are cylinders made from rings of carbon atoms that would be used as the channel between where the power enters and flows out of a transistor.
  • Nanotubes are microscopic tubes constructed from carbon rings which can be used to build logic circuits.
6 Mathematics A set of elements with two binary operations, addition and multiplication, the second being distributive over the first and associative.
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.
circle, encircle, circumscribe, encompass, loop, gird, girdle, enclose, surround, embrace, form a ring round, go around, hem in, fence 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.
1.2chiefly British Draw a circle round (something), especially to focus attention on it: an area of Soho had been ringed in red
More example sentences
  • Ring the correct answer below.
2 Ornithology , British Put an aluminium strip around the leg of (a bird) for subsequent identification: only a small proportion of warblers are caught and ringed
More example sentences
  • Once you have ringed the bird you write down the ring number, the species of bird, age, sex, date, time, wing length and weight.
2.1Put a circular band through the nose of (a bull, pig, or other farm animal) to lead or otherwise control it: in the mid 1850s there were fines for not ringing swine
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.
3 [with object] informal Fraudulently change the identity of (a motor vehicle), typically by changing its registration plate: there may be an organization which has ringed the stolen car to be resold
[ 1960s: from an earlier slang use in the general sense 'exchange' (compare with ringer)]
More example sentences
  • I had to have a Vehicle Identity Check carried out at a VOSA centre - for Cat D they are only interested in whether you've ringed the car or not.
4 short for ringbark.
Example sentences
  • They slashed and ringed the bark to stop these powerful trees putting out leaves.


hold the ring
Monitor a dispute or conflict without becoming involved in it: the judge is there to hold the ring impartially and to direct the jury on the law
More example sentences
  • British officials, some with little or no experience of the Middle East, came to regard themselves as umpires holding the ring between Arab and Jew.
  • When an army spokesman was asked on the radio whether our forces could go on holding the ring, he refused to comment.
  • It could splinter into civil war and destabilise the whole region if the interim government, US forces and United Nations fail to hold the ring among factions struggling for power.
run (or make) rings round (or around) someone
informal Outclass or outwit someone very easily: I had to be very firm with her, or she’d have run rings around me
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.
surpass, outshine, outclass, overshadow, eclipse, exceed, excel, transcend, cap, top, outstrip, outdo, put to shame, make look pale by comparison, put in the shade, be better than, beat, outplay, outperform, upstage, dwarf
informal be head and shoulders above, be a cut above, leave standing
archaic outrival, outvie
throw one's hat in the ring
see hat.


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?


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

  • In Anglo-Saxon times a gold ring was worn as an indication of wealth and status—the word comes from the same root as rank. In some traditional legends, such as the one told in Wagner's opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelungen, a ring is also an object of power, an idea reinforced by J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy The Lord of the Rings which draws on the tradition. The singing game ring-a-ring o'roses is commonly interpreted as referring to the bubonic plague which swept through England in 1665–66, with the ‘ring o'roses’ the rash symptomatic of the disease, the ‘pocketful of posies’ herbs carried to ward off infection, and the final ‘falling down’ part symbolizing death. This is unlikely, as the song first appeared in print only in 1881. The use of ring to mean ‘give out a clear sound’ is also recorded from Old English, but is a quite different word, probably representing an imitation of the sound. The phrase ring the changes, meaning ‘to vary the ways of arranging or doing something’, comes from bell-ringing. The ‘changes’ here are the different sequences in which a peal of church bells can be rung. The idea that something vaguely remembered might ring a bell in your head is a common one, but the expression goes back only to the 1930s.

Words that rhyme with ring

Beijing, bing, bring, Chungking, cling, ding, dingaling, fling, I Ching, king, Kunming, ling, Ming, Nanjing, Peking, ping, sing, Singh, sling, spring, sting, string, swing, Synge, thing, ting, wing, wring, Xining, zing
Definition of ring in:
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There are 2 main definitions of ring in English:

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ring 2 Line breaks: ring

verb (past rang /raŋ/; past participle rung /rʌŋ/)

1 [no object] Make a clear resonant or vibrating sound: a shot rang out a bell rang loudly
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.
chime, ring out, chime out, toll, peal, knell;
sound, clang, bong, clink, ding, jingle, tinkle
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.
toll, sound, strike, peal;
press, set off
rare tintinnabulate
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 [with object] British Call by telephone: I rang her this morning Harriet rang Dorothy up next day [no object]: she rang to tell him the good news
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.
telephone, phone, call, call up, ring up, give someone a ring, give someone a call, get someone on the phone, get on the phone to, get, reach, dial, make/place a call (to)
informal buzz, give someone a buzz
British informal bell, give someone a bell, give someone a tinkle, get on the blower to
North American informal get someone on the horn
3 [no object] (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.
resound, reverberate, resonate, echo, re-echo;
vibrate, pulsate
3.1(Of a person’s ears) be filled with a continuous buzzing or humming sound, especially as the after-effect 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.
3.2 (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.
3.3 [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.


Back to top  
1An act of ringing a bell, 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.
ringing, chime, carillon, toll, tolling, peal, knell;
sound, sounding, clang, clanging, clink, clinking, ding, dinging, jingle, jingling, tinkle, tinkling
archaic tocsin
rare tintinnabulation
1.1Each of a series of resonant or vibrating sounds signalling an incoming telephone call: she picked up the phone on the first ring
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.
1.2British 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.
call, telephone call, phone call
informal buzz
British informal bell, tinkle
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.
1.4A set of bells, especially church bells.
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.
2 [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.


ring a bell
see bell1.
ring the changes
see change.
ring down (or up) the curtain
Cause a theatre curtain to be lowered (or raised): they’ll have to ring down the curtain
More example sentences
  • They rang down the curtain for the last time Sunday.
3.1Mark 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 off the hook
North American (Of a telephone) be constantly ringing due to a large number of incoming calls: once the word was out that we had tickets, the phone was ringing off the hook
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 someone/thing in (or out)
Usher someone or something in (or out) by ringing a bell: the bells were beginning to ring out the old year
More example sentences
  • The seventies were rung in with platforms, the Roaring twenties had the round-toed bar shoes.
  • The local establishment also had a capacity crowd on New Year's Eve, as the new Millennium was rung in by family and friends.
herald, signal, announce, proclaim, usher in, introduce, launch, celebrate, mark, signify, indicate, give notice of
literary betoken, harbinger, knell
ring off
End a telephone call by replacing the receiver: before I ring off can I have a quick word with Colin?
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 something up
Record an amount on a cash register: he took the money for the drinks and rang it up
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!’


Old English hringan, of Germanic origin, perhaps imitative.

  • In Anglo-Saxon times a gold ring was worn as an indication of wealth and status—the word comes from the same root as rank. In some traditional legends, such as the one told in Wagner's opera cycle The Ring of the Nibelungen, a ring is also an object of power, an idea reinforced by J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy The Lord of the Rings which draws on the tradition. The singing game ring-a-ring o'roses is commonly interpreted as referring to the bubonic plague which swept through England in 1665–66, with the ‘ring o'roses’ the rash symptomatic of the disease, the ‘pocketful of posies’ herbs carried to ward off infection, and the final ‘falling down’ part symbolizing death. This is unlikely, as the song first appeared in print only in 1881. The use of ring to mean ‘give out a clear sound’ is also recorded from Old English, but is a quite different word, probably representing an imitation of the sound. The phrase ring the changes, meaning ‘to vary the ways of arranging or doing something’, comes from bell-ringing. The ‘changes’ here are the different sequences in which a peal of church bells can be rung. The idea that something vaguely remembered might ring a bell in your head is a common one, but the expression goes back only to the 1930s.

Definition of ring in:
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