1 of 2


: the loud ringing of bells
the peal of wedding bells
: a complete set of changes (see change entry 2 sense 6) on a given number of bells
: a set of bells tuned to the tones of the major (see major entry 1 sense 7a) scale for change ringing
: a loud sound or succession of sounds
peals of laughter
peals of thunder


2 of 2


pealed; pealing; peals

intransitive verb

: to give out peals

transitive verb

: to utter or give forth loudly

Example Sentences

Noun the peal of wedding bells Verb the village bells pealed every hour in commemoration
Recent Examples on the Web
This time, she was interrupted not by the peals of the alarm, but by the clapping of hands. Megan Molteni, STAT, 14 Mar. 2023 Šestan let out a peal of laughter. Tony Perrottet, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Aug. 2022 Another peal of laughter. New York Times, 15 May 2021 At the top of Section 181, the drum is as startling as a peal of thunder from a clear blue sky. Bill Livingston, cleveland, 3 Feb. 2023 The gaping silence rings louder than any peal of laughter. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 3 May 2016 Bass asked at the UCLA rally, setting off a peal of cheers. Michael R. Blood, ajc, 8 Nov. 2022 That's when demand is at its peal and stadiums as well as third-parties charge as much fans are willing to pay. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 9 Sep. 2022 If bell-ringers produce every possible permutation in a sequence without repetitions, this has traditionally been called a full peal. Eugenia Cheng, WSJ, 4 Aug. 2022
Their familysong, pealing like bells just beyond reach. Hilary Leichter, Harper's Magazine, 25 May 2020 The service was interrupted at least twice by emergency alerts pealing from cellphones scattered throughout the congregation. David Montgomery, New York Times, 14 July 2019 The bell now resides at the Presbyterian church, pealing electronically rather than through physical ringing. Laura Bednar, cleveland, 2 Dec. 2019 Winds rose, lightning flickered and thunder crashed and pealed as rain poured down. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2019 The trumpets and horns, facing off on opposite sides of the ensemble, created an energetic, pealing, antiphonal effect in the final hornpipe. Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8 Apr. 2018 That rang a familiar alarm bell in my head that didn't stop pealing throughout JeffBo's time on the stage. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 18 Oct. 2017 But this time the guitarist peals a blistering line that seems to run the head melody backward. John Kaag, WSJ, 14 July 2017 The crowd burst into cheers and applause as the last faded away, and bells at nearby Westminster Abbey pealed a noisy farewell to their neighbor. Jill Lawless, The Seattle Times, 21 Aug. 2017 See More

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

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle English, appeal, summons to church, short for appel appeal, from appelen to appeal

First Known Use


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


1593, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of peal was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near peal

Cite this Entry

“Peal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the loud ringing of bells
: a loud sound or series of sounds
a peal of laughter
a peal of thunder
peal verb

More from Merriam-Webster on peal

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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