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bell 1

1. A hollow metal musical instrument, usually cup-shaped with a flared opening, that emits a metallic tone when struck.
2. Something resembling such an instrument in shape or sound, as:
a. The round, flared opening of a wind instrument at the opposite end from the mouthpiece.
b. bells A percussion instrument consisting of metal tubes or bars that emit tones when struck.
c. A hollow, usually inverted vessel, such as one used for diving deep below the surface of a body of water.
d. The corolla of a flower: "In a cowslip's bell I lie" (Shakespeare).
e. The body of a jellyfish.
3. Nautical
a. A stroke on a hollow metal instrument to mark the hour.
b. The time indicated by the striking of this instrument, divided into half hours.
v. belled, bell·ing, bells
1. To put a bell on.
2. To cause to flare like a bell.
To assume the form of a bell; flare.
bell the cat
To perform a daring act.

[Middle English belle, from Old English.]

bell 2

The bellowing or baying cry of certain animals, such as a deer in rut or a beagle on the hunt.
intr.v. belled, bell·ing, bells
To utter long, deep, resonant sounds; bellow.

[From Middle English bellen, to bellow, from Old English bellan.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


Rare. concerned with bells or the manufacture of bells.
a tower for peals of bells or a carillon, usually freestanding. Also called campanario.
one who plays a campanile or carillon; a carilloneur.
the science or art of bell ringing. See also change ringing. — campanologist, campanologer, n.campanological, adj.
the art of sounding a ring or set of from 3 to 12 tuned bells according to intricate patterns of sequences.
1. the sound made by ringing bells.
2. a tinkling, bell-like sound. — tintinnabular, adj.
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Hear the mellow wedding-bells Golden bells! What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Bellringer of Notre-Dame at the age of fourteen, a new infirmity had come to complete his misfortunes: the bells had broken the drums of his ears; he had become deaf.
He soon reached a lovely spot, whose golden halls were bright with jewels, which sparkled brightly, and threw many-colored shadows on the shining garments of the little Spirits, who danced below to the melody of soft, silvery bells.
Poe's poem of the "Bells" stands incomplete to this day; but it is well enough that it is so, for the public reciter or "reader" who goes around trying to imitate the sounds of the various sorts of bells with his voice would find himself "up a stump" when he got to the church-bell-- as Joseph Addison would say.
"But so many weddings have been ushered in with the merriest peal of the bells, and yet turned out unhappily, that I shall hope for better fortune under such different auspices."
Don Quixote had got so far with his song, to which the duke, the duchess, Altisidora, and nearly the whole household of the castle were listening, when all of a sudden from a gallery above that was exactly over his window they let down a cord with more than a hundred bells attached to it, and immediately after that discharged a great sack full of cats, which also had bells of smaller size tied to their tails.
But just when they expected to make the shoals by the Virgin the fog shut down, and they anchored, surrounded by the tinklings of invisible bells. There was not much fishing, but occasionally dory met dory in the fog and exchanged news.
Whenever I look at my watch and its hands point to ten, I hear the bells of the neighboring church; but because the bells begin to ring when the hands of the clock reach ten, I have no right to assume that the movement of the bells is caused by the position of the hands of the watch.
After some fruitless ringing at the bells, and beating at the iron gates, they drew off a few paces to reconnoitre, and confer upon the course it would be best to take.
He saw the tower, whither his charmed footsteps had brought him, swarming with dwarf phantoms, spirits, elfin creatures of the Bells. He saw them leaping, flying, dropping, pouring from the Bells without a pause.
Mate's Voice from the Quarter-Deck Eight bells there, forward!
Half-past six was no longer half-past six to these pilgrims from New England, the South, and the Mississippi Valley, it was "seven bells"; eight, twelve, and four o'clock were "eight bells"; the captain did not take the longitude at nine o'clock, but at "two bells." They spoke glibly of the "after cabin," the "for'rard cabin," "port and starboard" and the "fo'castle."