Word of the DayMonday, August 18, 2008
The stroke of a bell tolled at a funeral or at the death of a person; a death signal; a passing bell; hence, figuratively, a warning of, or a sound indicating, the passing away of anything.
To sound as a knell; especially, to toll at a death or funeral; hence, to sound as a warning or evil omen.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
-- Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
The Bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is a Knell, That summons thee to Heaven, or to Hell.
-- Shakespeare, Macbeth
All the morning the funeral knell has been tolling.
-- Besant & Rice, The Chaplain of the Fleet
Not worth a blessing nor a bell to knell for thee.
-- Fletcher, The Spanish Curate
From the Old English cnyll, cnell, "the sound of bells."
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