--noun (singular: bell; plural: bells)

1. toll: the sound of a bell being struck.
  • "Saved by the bell."
2. buzzer: a push button at an outer door that gives a ringing or buzzing signal when pushed.
3. ship's bell: nautical each of the eight half-hour units of nautical time signaled by strokes of a ship's bell; eight bells signals 4:00, 8:00, or 12:00 o'clock, either a.m. or p.m..
4. bell shape: the shape of a bell.
5. alexander melville bell: a phonetician and father of Alexander Graham Bell (1819-1905) .
6. vanessa bell: English painter; sister of Virginia Woolf; prominent member of the Bloomsbury Group (1879-1961) .
7. alexander bell: United States inventor (born in Scotland) of the telephone (1847-1922) .
8. chime: a percussion instrument consisting of a set of tuned bells that are struck with a hammer; used as an orchestral instrument.
9. a hollow device made of metal that makes a ringing sound when struck.
10. the flared opening of a tubular device.

--verb usually used with object (verb: bell; 3rd person present: bells; past tense: belled; past participle: belled; gerund or present participle: belling)

11. to attach a bell to.
  • "Bell cows."
Old English belle, common Low Ger. (confer Middle Dutch Belle, Middle LatinG. belle) but not found elsewhere in Gmc. (except as a borrowing), from PIE base *bhel- "to sound, roar." Bellhop is a 1910 shortening of bellhopper (1900), from the notion of hopping to action at the ring of the bell. Bell-boy was originally (1851) a ship's bell-ringer, later (1861) a hotel page. Bell-wether (c.1440; see wether) was "the leading sheep of a flock, on whose neck a bell is hung;" used earlier in the fig. sense of "chief, leader" (c.1430). Bell-bottomed trousers first recorded 1891. Bell, book, and candle is a reference to a form of excommunication. To ring a bell "awaken a memory", 1934, is perhaps a reference to Pavlovian experiments.

A bell is a directly struck idiophone percussion instrument. Most bells have the shape of a hollow cup that when struck vibrates in a single strong strike tone, with its sides forming an efficient resonator.