for whom the bell tolls definition
An expression from a sermon by John Donne. Donne says that because we are all part of mankind, any person's death is a loss to all of us: “Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” The line also suggests that we all will die: the bell will toll for each one of us. (See No man is an island.)
Note: The twentieth-century American author Ernest Hemingway named a novel For Whom the Bell Tolls; the book is set during the Spanish Civil War.