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[chahym] /tʃaɪm/
an apparatus for striking a bell so as to produce a musical sound, as one at the front door of a house by which visitors announce their presence.
Often, chimes.
  1. a set of bells or of slabs of metal, stone, wood, etc., producing musical tones when struck.
  2. a musical instrument consisting of such a set, especially a glockenspiel.
  3. the musical tones thus produced.
  4. carillon.
harmonious sound in general; music; melody.
harmonious relation; accord:
the battling duo, in chime at last.
verb (used without object), chimed, chiming.
to sound harmoniously or in chimes as a set of bells:
The church bells chimed at noon.
to produce a musical sound by striking a bell, gong, etc.; ring chimes:
The doorbell chimed.
to speak in cadence or singsong.
to harmonize; agree:
The scenery chimed perfectly with the play's eerie mood.
verb (used with object), chimed, chiming.
to give forth (music, sound, etc.), as a bell or bells.
to strike (a bell, set of bells, etc.) so as to produce musical sound.
to put, bring, indicate, announce, etc., by chiming:
Bells chimed the hour.
to utter or repeat in cadence or singsong:
The class chimed a greeting to the new teacher.
Verb phrases
chime in,
  1. to break suddenly and unwelcomely into a conversation, as to express agreement or voice an opinion.
  2. to harmonize with, as in singing.
  3. to be consistent or compatible; agree:
    The new building will not chime in with the surrounding architecture.
Origin of chime1
1250-1300; Middle English chymbe belle, by false analysis of *chimbel, Old English cimbal cymbal
Related forms
chimer, noun
unchiming, adjective


[chahym] /tʃaɪm/
the edge or brim of a cask, barrel, or the like, formed by the ends of the staves projecting beyond the head or bottom.
Also, chimb, chine.
1350-1400; Middle English chimb(e); compare Old English cimbing chime; cognate with Middle Low German, Middle Dutch kimme edge Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for chime
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Does not the verse clank and chime like sword sheath on spur, like the bits of champing horses?

    Essays in Little Andrew Lang
  • A clock inside the hall began to chime midnight, and he turned on his heel.

    The Education of Eric Lane Stephen McKenna
  • And then one day there suddenly drifted across the deathlike valley the chime of jingling spurs and the sound of human voices.

    Gabriel Conroy Bert Harte
  • They left two or three story papers and that chime thing when they went away.

    Cap'n Eri Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • The only sounds, save the soughing sighs of the giant branches, are the chime of the waterfall and the chirping of birds.

    Trusia Davis Brinton
  • When would the chime of the Christ-bell peal over land and sea?

British Dictionary definitions for chime


an individual bell or the sound it makes when struck
(often pl) the machinery employed to sound a bell in this way
Also called bell. a percussion instrument consisting of a set of vertical metal tubes of graduated length, suspended in a frame and struck with a hammer
a harmonious or ringing sound: the chimes of children's laughter
agreement; concord
  1. to sound (a bell) or (of a bell) to be sounded by a clapper or hammer
  2. to produce (music or sounds) by chiming
(transitive) to indicate or show (time or the hours) by chiming
(transitive) to summon, announce, or welcome by ringing bells
(intransitive) foll by with. to agree or harmonize
to speak or recite in a musical or rhythmic manner
Derived Forms
chimer, noun
Word Origin
C13: probably shortened from earlier chymbe bell, ultimately from Latin cymbalumcymbal


the projecting edge or rim of a cask or barrel
Word Origin
Old English cimb-; related to Middle Low German kimme outer edge, Swedish kimb
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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Word Origin and History for chime

c.1300, chymbe "cymbal," from Old English cymbal, cimbal, also perhaps through Old French chimbe or directly from Latin cymbalum (see cymbal, the modern word for what this word originally meant). Evidently the word was misinterpreted as chymbe bellen (c.1300) and its sense shifted to "chime bells," a meaning attested from mid-15c.


mid-14c., chyme, from chime (n.). Originally of metal, etc.; of voices from late 14c. To chime in originally was musical, "join harmoniously;" of conversation by 1838. Related: Chimed; chiming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Related Abbreviations for chime


College of Healthcare Information Management Executives
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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