bells and whistles

plural noun

Definition of bells and whistles 

: 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

In Gurnee, the production is a much more high-tech affair using 3D projection mapping and other bells and whistles. Lori Rackl,, "First look: Great Wolf Lodge Illinois ready to welcome guests, Chance the Rapper," 21 June 2018 In Gurnee, the production is a much more high-tech affair using 3D projection mapping and other bells and whistles. Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, "Chance the Rapper leads camp kids in test run at Great Wolf Lodge, Gurnee's newly renovated water park," 21 June 2018 This dual-fan RX 580 features a 1,380 MHz base clock, a 1,435 MHz boost clock, and should deliver an impeccable 1080p gaming experience with all the in-game graphical bells and whistles enabled. Ian Paul, PCWorld, "ASRock's bundling an 8GB Radeon RX 580 graphics card with a B350 Ryzen motherboard for $300," 11 July 2018 This is why fans love this game so much, because of all the care and all the depth and all the bells and whistles. Eric Single,, "How Virtual Sports Illustrated Covers Made It Into EA Sports’s NCAA Football Series," 10 July 2018 Some of the new bells and whistles will include a new scoreboard and fan-friendly restrooms and retail space. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "See what the University of Houston's new Fertitta Center will look like soon," 22 June 2018 The company also offers a premium service ($30 a month) that comes with bells and whistles like a weekly email listing your performance stats and an option to upload documents for a full grammatical scrubbing. Lisa Wood Shapiro, WIRED, "The End of Dyslexia," 18 June 2018 The app strips out much of the bells and whistles, offering a more space-saving experience for users with limited data plans, spottier connectivity, and slower than average internet speeds. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Uber Lite is a slimmed down, 5MB version of the app for emerging markets," 12 June 2018 Although more expensive models offer a few more bells and whistles like the Oasis's waterproof design or the Voyage's auto-brightness, the Paperwhite offers the best balance of features and affordability. Samantha Gordon, USA TODAY, "Here are the 5 best Amazon deals right now," 12 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bells and whistles.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bells and whistles

1968, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

4 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for bells and whistles

The first known use of bells and whistles was in 1968

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More Definitions for bells and whistles

bells and whistles


English Language Learners Definition of bells and whistles

: parts and features that are useful or appealing but not essential or necessary

More from Merriam-Webster on bells and whistles

Nglish: Translation of bells and whistles for Spanish Speakers

Comments on bells and whistles

What made you want to look up bells and whistles? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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