1The sound of a bell, especially when rung solemnly for a death or funeral.
toll, tolling, ringing, chime, clang, dong, peal, stroke, resounding, reverberation, clangour, boomView synonyms
- ‘I was sure anyone within five miles would have heard it the way they hear a church bell's knell or a train's whistle.’
- ‘The very word is like a knell, signalling the approach of death.’
- ‘As the knell died away, a black flag slowly rose up the mast and stopped half-way.’
- 1.1Used in reference to an announcement, event, or sound that warns of the end of something.‘the decision will probably toll the knell for the facility’
end, beginning of the end, presage of the end, death knellView synonyms
- ‘If you fear this may be just one more story to sound a warning knell about the IT skills shortage - not to worry.’
- ‘The huntsman's horn sounded the final knell when the last traditional hunt by the Tedworth came to en end.’
intransitive verb[no object]literary
1(of a bell) ring solemnly, especially for a death or funeral.ring, peal, toll, soundView synonyms
- 1.1with object Proclaim (something) by or as if by a knell.‘I could almost hear the two-tone foghorns knelling my demise.’herald, signal, announce, proclaim, usher in, introduce, launch, celebrate, mark, signify, indicate, give notice ofView synonyms
- 1.1with object Proclaim (something) by or as if by a knell.
Old English cnyll (noun), cnyllan (verb), of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch knal (noun), knallen (verb) ‘bang, pop, crack’. The current spelling (dating from the 16th century) is perhaps influenced by bell.