death knell

Collins
World English Dictionary
death knell or death bell
 
n
1.  something that heralds death or destruction
2.  a bell rung to announce a death
 
death bell or death bell
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

death knell

Something that indicates impending failure, as in His low scores sounded the death knell for his ambitions. The noun knell, used for the ringing of a bell since at least a.d. 1000, is rarely heard today except in this figurative phrase.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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