1

knell

play
noun \ ˈnel \

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

  1. the church bells knelled to mark the death of the nation's beloved leader

Recent Examples of knell from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of knell

see 2knell


2

knell

verb

Definition of knell

transitive verb
:to summon or announce by or as if by a knell
intransitive verb
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



KNELL Defined for English Language Learners

knell

noun

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

knell

play
noun \ ˈnel \

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

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

agreeable, attractive, or delicious

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!