1 [ring-er]
a person or thing that encircles, rings, etc.
a quoit or horseshoe so thrown as to encircle the peg.
the throw itself.
Also, ringers. Also called ring taw. Marbles. a game in which players place marbles in a cross marked in the center of a circle, the object being to knock as many marbles as possible outside the circle by using another marble shooter.
Australian. a highly skilled sheep shearer.

1815–25; ring1 + -er1

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2 [ring-er]
a person or thing that rings or makes a ringing noise: a ringer of bells; a bell that is a loud ringer.
a racehorse, athlete, or the like entered in a competition under false representation as to identity or ability.
a student paid by another to take an exam.
any person or thing that is fraudulent; fake or impostor.
a substitute or addition, as a professional musician hired to strengthen a school orchestra: We hired three ringers for the commencement concert.

1375–1425; late Middle English; see ring2, -er1

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
ringer (ˈrɪŋə)
1.  a person or thing that rings a bell
2.  slang Also called: dead ringer a person or thing that is almost identical to another
3.  slang a stolen vehicle the identity of which has been changed by the use of the licence plate, serial number, etc, of another, usually disused, vehicle
4.  (US) a contestant, esp a horse, entered in a competition under false representations of identity, record, or ability
5.  (Austral), (NZ) the fastest shearer in a shed
6.  informal (Austral) the fastest or best at anything
7.  a quoit thrown so as to encircle a peg
8.  such a throw

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

especially be a dead ringer for "resemble closely," 1891, from ringer, a fast horse entered fraudulently in a race in place of a slow one (the verb to ring in this sense is attested from 1812), possibly from British ring in "substitute, exchange," via ring the changes, "substitute counterfeit money for
good," a pun on ring the changes in the sense of play the regular series of variations in a peal of bells (1614). Meaning "expert" is first recorded 1918, Australian slang, from earlier meaning "man who shears the most sheep per day" (1871).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
One nominee was a ringer tossed in by the fossil of the pack in a fit of mischief.
They can sense when they are reaching their breaking point, and they know when to take a walk or turn off the ringer.
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