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bells and whistles

plural noun, Informal.
features added to a product; special parts or functions; extras.
1970-75 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bells and whistles
  • Digital cameras come with lots of bells and whistles.
  • Today's operators often use high-tech bells and whistles to lure their prey.
  • Because the reality was, guess what, bells and whistles don't go off all day long.
  • Fancy bells and whistles are great as augmentation to courses.
  • The fact that buyers want bells and whistles but users want something clear and simple creates a peculiar problem for companies.
  • Any of these bells and whistles exponentially increases the potential for failure in the overall system.
  • It lacks some of the bells and whistles that more professional systems offer.
  • Available messaging systems, be they proprietary or open-source, tend to come with superfluous bells and whistles.
  • The device has no more bells and whistles than necessary, and it does the job it was designed to do extremely well.
  • For all these bells and whistles though, it is still the nuanced intelligent enemies that steal the show.
British Dictionary definitions for bells and whistles

bells and whistles

plural noun
additional features or accessories which are nonessential but very attractive: my car has all the latest bells and whistles
additions, such as options or warranties, made to a financial product to increase its market appeal
Word Origin
C20: from the bells and whistles which used to decorate fairground organs
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for bells and whistles

bells and whistles


: If you are a bells andwhistles guy, you will probably find these cars to be of more value

noun phrase
  1. Nonessential elements, esp when impressive and decorative; frills: the latest ''bells and whistles,'' as high-tech frills are called/ you strip away the technological bells and whistles
  2. Accessories and accoutrements, esp of the flashier sort; refinements; adornments; finishing touches: Maserati, with all the bells and whistles (1970s+)



A BMW automobile

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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bells and whistles in Technology

(By analogy with the "toyboxes" on theatre organs). Features added to a program or system to make it more flavourful from a hacker's point of view, without necessarily adding to its utility for its primary function. Distinguished from chrome, which is intended to attract users. "Now that we've got the basic program working, let's go back and add some bells and whistles." No one seems to know what distinguishes a bell from a whistle.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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