bell

1 of 4

noun (1)

1
a
: a hollow metallic device that gives off a reverberating sound when struck
b
2
a
: the sounding of a bell as a signal
b
: a stroke of a bell (as on shipboard) to indicate the time
also : the time so indicated
c
: a half hour period of a watch on shipboard indicated by the strokes of a bell see Ship's Bells Table
3
: something having the form of a bell: such as
a
: the corolla of a flower
b
: a bell-shaped organ or part (such as the dewlap of a moose)
especially : the bell- or saucer-shaped, largely gelatinous structure that forms the main part of the body of most jellyfish : umbrella entry 1 sense 3
c
: the part of the capital of a column between the abacus and neck molding
d
: the flared end of a wind instrument
e
: the open mouth of a nozzle (such as of the exhaust of a jet engine)
The heating was so intense … that the gas went rushing out the tail of the engine at 30,000 feet per second, or twice the speed at which exhaust leaves the bell of a conventional engine.Jeffrey Kluger
4
a
: a percussion instrument consisting of metal bars or tubes that when struck give out tones resembling bells
usually used in plural
bell table

bell

2 of 4

verb (1)

belled; belling; bells

transitive verb

1
: to provide with a bell
2
: to flare the end of (something, such as a tube) into the shape of a bell

intransitive verb

: to take the form of a bell : flare

bell

3 of 4

verb (2)

belled; belling; bells

intransitive verb

: to make a resonant bellowing or baying sound
the wild buck bells from ferny brakeSir Walter Scott

bell

4 of 4

noun (2)

Phrases
get/have one's bell rung
US and Canada, sports, informal
: to be hit on the head : to suffer a concussion
He had his bell rung on a blitz, and a short time later he was taken to Divine Providence Hospital.Ralph Wiley
give (someone) a bell
British, informal
: to make a telephone call to
Maybe Cowell can give him a bell towards the end of his marathon broadcast—that would certainly wake him up.Mark Jefferies
bell the cat
: to do a daring or risky deed

Examples of bell in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Alarm bells ring in Matt Murray’s head when a prescription for misoprostol comes through his independent pharmacy in Boise, Idaho. Erika Edwards, NBC News, 18 Apr. 2024 Meanwhile, alarm bells around privacy and data security risks keep ringing, with some firms banning generative AI altogether. Nick Rockel, Fortune, 15 Mar. 2024 Other 'Dateline' cases A secret room and a jarring first date: Gilgo Beach murders suspect set off alarm bells A New Jersey man was convicted of killing his ex-wife’s new partner. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 19 Jan. 2024 Alarm bells Two former Medtronic sales executives in California argue in a whistleblower lawsuit that the 510(k) process can be abused. Fred Schulte, CBS News, 20 Dec. 2023 See all Example Sentences for bell 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bell.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English belle, from Old English; perhaps akin to Old English bellan to roar — more at bellow

Verb (2)

Middle English, going back to Old English bellan "to roar" — more at bellow

Noun (2)

noun derivative of bell entry 3

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Verb (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1510, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bell was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near bell

Cite this Entry

“Bell.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bell. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

bell

1 of 2 noun
1
: a hollow usually cup-shaped metallic device that makes a ringing sound when struck
2
: the stroke or sound of a bell that tells the hour
3
: a half hour period of a watch on shipboard indicated by the strokes of a bell
4
: something (as a flower or the mouth of a trumpet) shaped like a bell
bell table

bell

2 of 2 verb
1
: to provide with a bell
bell a cat
2
: to take the form of a bell : flare

Geographical Definition

Bell

geographical name

city in southwestern California southeast of Los Angeles population 35,477

Biographical Definition

Bell

biographical name

Alexander Graham 1847–1922 American (Scottish-born) inventor
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