General English


  • A portion of a pipe that, for a short distance, is sufficiently enlarged to receive the end of another pipe of the same diameter for the purpose of making a joint. See also hub.


  • A hollow metallic device with a hammer which strikes it to produce a ringing sound. Bells are usually electrically actuated, and serve to warn, as in an alarm, or to inform, as in an older telephone.


  • verb (to make) a telephone call (to someone). A working-class usage which has become almost universal since the 1970s in the form ‘give someone a bell’ or, more racily, ‘bell someone’. It is also in Australian use.


  • noun a metal cup-shaped object which makes a ringing sound when hit, or a mechanism to make a similar ringing sound

Origin & History of “bell”

The Old English word was belle. apart from Dutch bel it has no relatives in the other main European languages (many of them use words related to English clock for ‘bell’: French cloche, for instance, and German glocke). It has been speculated that it may be connected with the verb bell, used of the baying call made by a hound or stag, which itself is perhaps related to bellow, a descendant of a hypothetical Old English *belgan. The ultimate source may possibly be the same as for bellows.