Definition of knell
1 : a stroke or sound of a bell especially when rung slowly (as for a death, funeral, or disaster)
2 : an indication of the end or the failure of something sounded the death knell for our hopes
Examples of knell in a Sentence
the church bells knelled to mark the death of the nation's beloved leader
Recent Examples of knell from the Web
The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the late 1950s, which allowed ships to bypass Buffalo on their way to or from the Atlantic Ocean, was the death knell for many of these facilities and in some cases, the businesses that owned them.
Otto’s death will serve as a death knell warning going forward.
The bell provided the death knell during every funeral procession in the late 1800s.
Its decline began in the mid-1950s with the birth of the interstate highway system, and the death knell came in 1985 when Route 66 was officially decertified.
The new HomePod speaker may have stolen the show at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, but there was one announcement that could help ring the death knell for something many of us use every day: cash.
In December, the Obama administration blocked the school’s ability to accept federal student aid, a potential death knell.
Being down 3-1, as the Cavs were in the 2016 Finals, is less a death knell than a call to action.
So getting fired once isn’t the death knell for a coaching career.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'knell.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Definition of knell
: to summon or announce by or as if by a knell
1 : to ring especially for a death, funeral, or disaster : toll
2 : to sound in an ominous manner or with an ominous effect
Origin and Etymology of knell
Middle English, from Old English cnyllan; akin to Middle High German erknellen to toll
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
KNELL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of knell for English Language Learners
: a sound of a bell when it is rung slowly because someone has died
KNELL Defined for Kids
Definition of knell for Students
1 : a stroke or sound of a bell especially when rung slowly for a death, funeral, or disaster
2 : an indication of the end or failure of something “… it sounds the death knell of our society.” — Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea
Seen and Heard
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