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Informal. bell-bottom (def 2).
a hollow instrument of cast metal, typically cup-shaped with a flaring mouth, suspended from the vertex and rung by the strokes of a clapper, hammer, or the like.
the stroke or sound of such an instrument:
We rose at the bell.
anything in the form of a bell.
the large end of a funnel, or the end of a pipe, tube, or any musical wind instrument, when its edge is turned out and enlarged.
Architecture. the underlying part of a foliated capital.

any of the half-hour units of nautical time rung on the bell of a ship.
each individual ring of the bell, counted with others to reckon the time:
It is now four bells.
a signal on the telegraph of a large power vessel, made between the navigating officers and the engineer.

Zoology, umbrella (def 2).
Botany. the bell-shaped corolla of a flower.
Metallurgy. a conical lid that seals the top of a blast furnace and lowers to admit a charge.
to cause to swell or expand like a bell (often followed by out):
Belling out the tubes will permit a freer passage of air.
to put a bell on.
to take or have the form of a bell.
Botany. to produce bells; be in bell (said of hops when the seed vessels are forming).
bell the cat. cat1 (def 15).
ring a bell, to evoke a memory, especially a vague or partial recollection; remind one of something:
His name rings a bell but I can’t remember him.
ring someone’s bell,

to provide what is desired; be satisfactory or successful:
This new book just doesn’t ring my bell.
Slang. to arouse sexually or bring someone to orgasm.

Also, ring the bell.
saved by the bell,

(of a boxer) saved from a knockout by the ringing of a gong signaling the end of a round.
(of any person) spared from anticipated trouble by some extraneous event.

with bells on, Informal. eagerly; ready to enjoy oneself:
Just say when, and we’ll be there with bells on.
to bellow like a stag in rutting time.
to bay, as a hunting dog.
the cry of a rutting stag or hunting dog.
[ak-tuh n] /ˈæk tən/ (Show IPA) pen name of Anne Brontë.
Alexander Graham, 1847–1922, U.S. scientist, born in Scotland: inventor of the telephone.
(Arthur) Clive (Howard) 1881–1964, English critic of literature and art.
[kur-er] /ˈkɜr ər/ (Show IPA) pen name of Charlotte Brontë.
Ellis, pen name of Emily Brontë.
James Thomas (“Cool Papa”) 1903–91, U.S. baseball player, a Negro Leagues outfielder noted for his speed.
John, 1797–1869, U.S. political leader: Speaker of the House 1834–35.
a city in SW California, near Los Angeles.
Contemporary Examples

Is This Hemingway’s Pamplona or a Lot of Bull? Clive Irving July 12, 2014
We Miserable Catholics Frank McCourt December 18, 2008
The New College Calculus Jeffrey J. Selingo October 15, 2013
A Mark Twain Christmas Story The Daily Beast December 23, 2009
TV Preview: Snap Judgments of 2012-13’s New Shows Jace Lacob, Maria Elena Fernandez June 11, 2012

Historical Examples

Greyfriars Bobby Eleanor Atkinson
Tiverton Tales Alice Brown
How to Travel Thomas W. Knox
English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
From Pole to Pole Sven Anders Hedin

a hollow, usually metal, cup-shaped instrument that emits a musical ringing sound when struck, often by a clapper hanging inside it
the sound made by such an instrument or device, as for showing the hours or marking the beginning or end of a period of time
an electrical device that rings or buzzes as a signal
the bowl-shaped termination of the tube of certain musical wind instruments, such as the trumpet or oboe
any musical percussion instrument emitting a ringing tone, such as a glockenspiel, one of a set of hand bells, etc Compare chime1 (sense 3)
(nautical) a signal rung on a ship’s bell to count the number of half-hour intervals during each of six four-hour watches reckoned from midnight. Thus, one bell may signify 12.30, 4.30, or 8.30 a.m. or p.m
See diving bell
(biology) a structure resembling a bell in shape, such as the corolla of certain flowers or the body of a jellyfish
(Brit, slang) a telephone call (esp in the phrase give someone a bell)
(Brit, informal) beat seven bells out of, knock seven bells out of, to give a severe beating to
bell, book, and candle

instruments used formerly in excommunications and other ecclesiastical acts
(informal) the solemn ritual ratification of such acts

ring a bell, to sound familiar; recall to the mind something previously experienced, esp indistinctly
sound as a bell, in perfect condition
the bells, the ringing of bells, in a church or other public building, at midnight on December 31st, symbolizing the beginning of a new year
to be or cause to be shaped like a bell
(transitive) to attach a bell or bells to
bell the cat, to undertake a dangerous mission
a bellowing or baying cry, esp that of a hound or a male deer in rut
to utter (such a cry)
Acton, Currer (ˈkʌrə), and Ellis. pen names of the sisters Anne, Charlotte, and Emily Brontë See Brontë
Alexander Graham. 1847–1922, US scientist, born in Scotland, who invented the telephone (1876)
Sir Francis Henry Dillon. 1851–1936, New Zealand statesman; prime minister of New Zealand (1925)
Gertrude (Margaret Lowthian). 1868–1926, British traveller, writer, and diplomat; secretary to the British High Commissioner in Baghdad (1917–26)
Joshua. born 1967, US violinist
Dame (Susan) Jocelyn, married name Jocelyn Burnell, born 1943, British radio astronomer, who discovered the first pulsar
Vanessa, original name Vanessa Stephen. 1879–1961, British painter; a member of the Bloomsbury group, sister of Virginia Woolf and wife of the art critic Clive Bell (1881–1964)
Scottish-born American scientist and inventor whose lifelong interest in the education of deaf people led him to conceive the idea of transmitting speech by electric waves. In 1876 his experiments with a telegraph resulted in his invention of the telephone. He later produced the first successful sound recorder, an early hearing aid, and many other devices.

In addition to the idiom beginning with


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