saved by the bell


1 [bel]
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.
verb (used with object)
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.
verb (used without object)
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.

before 1000; Middle English, Old English belle; cognate with Dutch bel; derivative of bell2

bell-less, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source Link To saved by the bell
World English Dictionary
bell1 (bɛl)
1.  a hollow, usually metal, cup-shaped instrument that emits a musical ringing sound when struck, often by a clapper hanging inside it
2.  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
3.  an electrical device that rings or buzzes as a signal
4.  the bowl-shaped termination of the tube of certain musical wind instruments, such as the trumpet or oboe
5.  Compare chime any musical percussion instrument emitting a ringing tone, such as a glockenspiel, one of a set of hand bells, etc
6.  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
7.  See diving bell
8.  biology a structure resembling a bell in shape, such as the corolla of certain flowers or the body of a jellyfish
9.  slang (Brit) a telephone call (esp in the phrase give someone a bell)
10.  informal (Brit) beat seven bells out of, knock seven bells out of to give a severe beating to
11.  bell, book, and candle
 a.  instruments used formerly in excommunications and other ecclesiastical acts
 b.  informal the solemn ritual ratification of such acts
12.  ring a bell to sound familiar; recall to the mind something previously experienced, esp indistinctly
13.  sound as a bell in perfect condition
14.  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
15.  to be or cause to be shaped like a bell
16.  (tr) to attach a bell or bells to
17.  bell the cat to undertake a dangerous mission
[Old English belle; related to Old Norse bjalla, Middle Low German bell; see bell²]

bell2 (bɛl)
1.  a bellowing or baying cry, esp that of a hound or a male deer in rut
2.  to utter (such a cry)
[Old English bellan; related to Old Norse belja to bellow, Old High German bellan to roar, Sanskrit bhāsate he talks; see bellow]

Bell (bɛl)
1.  See Brontë Acton, Currer (ˈkʌrə), and Ellis. pen names of the sisters Anne, Charlotte, and Emily Brontë
2.  Alexander Graham. 1847--1922, US scientist, born in Scotland, who invented the telephone (1876)
3.  Sir Francis Henry Dillon. 1851--1936, New Zealand statesman; prime minister of New Zealand (1925)
4.  Gertrude (Margaret Lowthian). 1868--1926, British traveller, writer, and diplomat; secretary to the British High Commissioner in Baghdad (1917--26)
5.  Joshua. born 1967, US violinist
6.  (Susan) Jocelyn, married name Jocelyn Burnell, born 1943, British radio astronomer, who discovered the first pulsar
7.  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)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

O.E. belle, common North Sea Gmc. (cf. M.Du. belle, M.L.G. belle) but not found elsewhere in Gmc. (except as a borrowing), from PIE base *bhel- "to sound, roar." Statistical bell curve was coined 1870s in French. 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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

Bell (běl), Sir Charles. 1774-1842.

British anatomist and surgeon who published detailed anatomies of the nervous system and the brain. He was the first to distinguish between sensory and motor nerves. Bell's Law and Bell's palsy are named for him.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
Bell   (běl)  Pronunciation Key 
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Bible Dictionary

Bell definition

The bells first mentioned in Scripture are the small golden bells attached to the hem of the high priest's ephod (Ex. 28:33, 34, 35). The "bells of the horses" mentioned by Zechariah (14:20) were attached to the bridles or belts round the necks of horses trained for war, so as to accustom them to noise and tumult.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

saved by the bell

Rescued from a difficulty at the last moment, as in I couldn't put off explaining his absence any longer, but then Bill arrived and I was saved by the bell. This expression alludes to the bell rung at the end of a boxing round, which, if it rings before a knocked-down boxer has been counted out, lets him get up and continue fighting in the next round. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature