AskDefine | Define bell

Dictionary Definition



1 a hollow device made of metal that makes a ringing sound when struck
2 a push button at an outer door that gives a ringing or buzzing signal when pushed [syn: doorbell, buzzer]
3 the sound of a bell being struck; "saved by the bell"; "she heard the distant toll of church bells" [syn: toll]
4 (nautical) each of the eight half-hour units of nautical time signaled by strokes of a ship's bell; eight bells signals
800, or
1200 o'clock, either a.m. or p.m. [syn: ship's bell]
5 the shape of a bell [syn: bell shape, campana]
6 a phonetician and father of Alexander Graham Bell (1819-1905) [syn: Melville Bell, Alexander Melville Bell]
7 English painter; sister of Virginia Woolf; prominent member of the Bloomsbury Group (1879-1961) [syn: Vanessa Bell, Vanessa Stephen]
8 United States inventor (born in Scotland) of the telephone (1847-1922) [syn: Alexander Bell, Alexander Graham Bell]
9 a percussion instrument consisting of vertical metal tubes of different lengths that are struck with a hammer [syn: chime, gong]
10 the flared opening of a tubular device v : attach a bell to; "bell cows"

User Contributed Dictionary



belle; cognate with Dutch bel.


  • /bɛl/, /bEl/
  • Rhymes: -ɛl


  1. An object made of metal or other hard material, typically but not always in the shape of an inverted cup with a flared rim, which resonates when struck.
  2. In the context of "mostly|UK|informal": a telephone call
    I’ll give you a bell later.
  3. A signal at a school that tells the students when it's time to change classes during the day.
  4. The flared end of a brass or woodwind instrument.
  5. The bellow or bay of certain animals, such as a hound on the hunt or a stag in rut.
metallic resonating object
a telephone call
signal at a school
  • Czech: zvonek
  • Finnish: kello
  • Hungarian: csengő
  • Japanese: (, kane), (beru)
  • Polish: dzwonek
  • Russian: звонок
  • Slovene: zvonec
the flared end of a brass or woodwind instrument

See also


  1. To attach a bell to.
    Who will bell the cat?
  2. To bellow or roar.
    1824: A History of the Earth, and Animated Nature, Oliver Goldsmith — This animal is said to harbour in the place where he resides. When he cries, he is said to bell; the print of his hoof is called the slot; his tail is called the single; his excrement the fumet; his horns are called his head; when simple, the first year they are called broches; the third year, spears; the fourth year, that part which bears the antlers is called the beam, and the little impressions upon its surface, glitters; those which rise from the crust of the beam are called pearls.
  3. To shape so that flares out like a bell.



From bellus


  1. beautiful

Related terms


Extensive Definition

Bell may refer to:

Devices that produce sound

  • Bell (instrument), a simple sound-making device
    • Altar bell, a bell rung during the Catholic Mass
    • Bell (school), a bell that signals transitions during a school day
    • Bell cymbal, a small cymbal. The bell is also the center, rounded part of a cymbal.
    • Bell tree, instrument made of nested bells
    • Bermuda carriage bell, used in vehicles as a warning to pedestrians
    • Carillon, an instrument which utilizes bells, normally housed in a bell tower, and played from a keyboard
    • Chime (bell instrument), similar to a carillon, but with fewer bells
    • Church bell, a bell hanging in a church tower
    • Electric bell, such as a doorbell or buzzer
    • Handbell, a handheld bell, rung singly (such as a school bell) or in tuned sets played by a bell choir
    • Jingle bell, a spherical bell that produces a distinct "jingle" sound
    • Last call bell, a bell that signals the closing of a bar
    • Mark tree, a set of small hanging chimes, sometimes mislabeled as a wind chime
    • Orchestra bell, better known as Glockenspiel
    • Ship's bells, bells which mark time on a ship
    • Slave bell, used to regulate slavery
    • Tubular bell, used in tuned sets as in a longcase clock, orchestral chime, organ, or tower
  • Bell (wind), the round, flared opening of a wind instrument opposite the mouthpiece
  • Bell character, a character that produces an audible signal at a terminal
  • Bell effect, a musical technique similar to an arpeggio
  • Bell unit (bel), measure of the ratio between two quantities

In communication

The word "bell" also can mean a signal from a engine order telegraph on a ship or submarine.

In biology

  • Bell Miner, colonial honeyeater endemic to southeastern Australia
  • Bell pepper, Cultivar Group of the species Capsicum annuum
  • Bellbird, several kinds of bird in various regions of the world that are noted for their far-carrying bell-like call
  • Diving bell spider, spider which lives entirely under water
  • Bell, the umbrella-shaped, non-stinging part of medusas in jellyfish
  • Bell, the corolla of a flower
  • Bell, the bellow or cry of a rutting stag or hunting dog

In mathematics

  • Bell curve, illustrates normal distribution in statistics
    • Bell curve grading, a use of the bell curve in comparing student achievement and converting percent and percentile grades to letter grades
  • Bell number, the number of partitions of a set with n members
  • Bell's theorem, the most famous legacy of the late John Bell


bell in Czech: Bell
bell in Danish: Bell
bell in German: Bell
bell in Spanish: Bell
bell in Esperanto: Bell
bell in French: Bell
bell in Korean: 벨
bell in Hebrew: בל
bell in Dutch: Bell
bell in Norwegian: Bell
bell in Polish: Bell
bell in Russian: Белл
bell in Finnish: Bell
bell in Swedish: Bell
bell in Volapük: Bell
bell in Chinese: 貝尔

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Roman candle, aerophone, aid to navigation, alarm, amber light, arrest, balefire, battery, beacon, beacon fire, bell buoy, bells, blinker, blue peter, bones, bong, buoy, castanets, caution light, celesta, check, checkmate, chime, chimes, church bell, clapper, clappers, cowbell, crash cymbal, cutoff, cymbals, dead stop, deadlock, dinner bell, dinner gong, doorbell, double reed, embouchure, end, endgame, ending, final whistle, finger cymbals, fire bell, flare, fog bell, fog signal, fog whistle, foghorn, full stop, gamelan, glance, glockenspiel, go light, gong, gong bell, gong buoy, green light, grinding halt, gun, halt, hand bell, handbells, heliograph, high sign, horn, hour, idiophone, international alphabet flag, international numeral pennant, jingle bell, key, kick, knell, leer, lip, lockout, lyra, maraca, marimba, marker beacon, metallophone, minute, mouthpiece, nod, nudge, orchestral bells, parachute flare, passing bell, peal, percussion, percussion instrument, percussions, percussive, pilot flag, pipe, poke, police whistle, quarantine flag, radio beacon, rattle, rattlebones, red flag, red light, reed, rocket, sacring bell, sailing aid, semaphore, semaphore flag, semaphore telegraph, sheepbell, sign, signal, signal beacon, signal bell, signal fire, signal flag, signal gong, signal gun, signal lamp, signal light, signal mast, signal post, signal rocket, signal shot, signal siren, signal tower, sit-down strike, sizzler, sleigh bell, slide, snappers, spar buoy, stalemate, stand, standoff, standstill, stay, stop, stop light, stoppage, strike, tam-tam, telephone bell, the nod, the time, the wink, time, time of day, time signal, tintinnabula, tintinnabulum, toll, tongue, tonitruone, tooter, touch, traffic light, traffic signal, triangle, tubular bells, valve, vibes, vibraphone, walkout, watch fire, white flag, wigwag, wigwag flag, wind, wind instrument, wink, work stoppage, xylophone, yellow flag
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