bells and whistles

plural noun

: items or features that are useful or decorative but not essential : frills

Examples of bells and whistles in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This is one humidifier with all of the bells and whistles, including a diffuser, a timer, a nightlight, cool and warm mist options, a remote control, and a hygrometer to read the humidity levels in the room. Paige Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Dec. 2023 There will be plenty of bells and whistles expected of these brands, including restaurants from top chefs, but also a few features new to the industry (think glass domes on the hull). Scott Laird, Condé Nast Traveler, 30 Nov. 2023 The home, which is so jam-packed with bells and whistles that many might find little reason to go down to the beach, was custom-built for its owner, tech investor Bob DeSantis, an early investor in LinkedIn and a co-founder of Ariba Software. Mark David, Robb Report, 29 Nov. 2023 Perched on an outcropping overlooking the entire village, Chalet Zermatt Peak has all the bells and whistles of a villain’s lair from a James Bond movie. Everett Potter, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 This product doesn't have a phone slot, additional pockets, or any other bells and whistles. Theresa Holland, Travel + Leisure, 17 Nov. 2023 Director and choreographer Josh Rhodes’ production, which originated at the Kennedy Center this spring, is more frenzied regurgitation than reinvention, opting at every turn for showy bells and whistles over original interpretation. Naveen Kumar, Variety, 17 Nov. 2023 Aside from simply displaying content, this dual-screen monitor also comes with all sorts of bells and whistles, including a full HD webcam and mic for video calls, powerful speakers for blasting music, and a USB hub with 100W USB-C for easy pass-through charging for your laptop. Stack Commerce, Popular Science, 2 Nov. 2023 Prices range from $100,000 to $200,000, depending on bells and whistles. Nick Yetto, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1968, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bells and whistles was in 1968

Dictionary Entries Near bells and whistles

Cite this Entry

“Bells and whistles.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

bells and whistles

noun plural
: items or features that are useful or decorative but not necessary
a new car with lots of bells and whistles

More from Merriam-Webster on bells and whistles

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