Etymology
Advertisement
knell (n.)

Old English cnyll "sound made by a bell when struck or rung slowly," from knell (v.). Compare Dutch knal, German knall, Danish knald, Swedish knall. The Welsh cnull "death-bell" appears to be a borrowing from English. For vowel evolution, see bury. For pronunciation, see kn-.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
diving (n.)

late 14c., verbal noun from dive (v.). Diving-board is attested by 1861. Diving-bell is from 1660s.

Related entries & more 
ringing (adj.)

"having or giving the sound of a bell; resonant," 14c., present-participle adjective from ring (v.1). Figurative use by c. 1600. Related: Ringingly.

Related entries & more 
curfew (n.)

early 14c., curfeu, "evening signal, ringing of a bell at a fixed hour" as a signal to extinguish fires and lights, from Anglo-French coeverfu (late 13c.), from Old French cuevrefeu, literally "cover fire" (Modern French couvre-feu), from cuevre, imperative of covrir "to cover" (see cover (v.)) + feu "fire" (see focus (n.)). Related: Curfew-bell (early 14c.).

The medieval practice of ringing a bell (usually at 8 or 9 p.m.) as an order to bank the hearths and prepare for sleep was to prevent conflagrations from untended fires. The modern extended sense of "periodic restriction of movement" had evolved by 1800s.

Related entries & more 
billabong (n.)

Australian, "backwater, stagnant pool," 1865, from Billibang, Aboriginal name of Bell River, from billa "water" + bang, which is of uncertain meaning.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
bel (n.)

unit of power level in measuring sound, 1929, named for Scottish-born telephone pioneer Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922).

Related entries & more 
ring (v.1)

[sound a bell; emit a resonant sound] Old English hringan "cause (a bell) to sound;" also "announce or celebrate by the ringing of bells," from Proto-Germanic *khrengan (source also of Old Norse hringja, Swedish ringa, Middle Dutch ringen), probably of imitative origin. Related: Rang; rung.

Originally a weak verb, the strong inflection began in early Middle English by influence of sing, etc. The intransitive sense of "give a certain resonant sound when struck" is by c. 1200. Of places, "resound, re-echo," c. 1300. Of the ears or head, "have a continued buzz or hum in reaction to exposure to noise," by late 14c. In reference to a telephone, intransitive, by 1924; as "to call (someone) on a telephone by 1880, with up (adv.). The verb was much used in phrases of 20c. telephoning, such as ring off "hang up," ring back "return a call," ring in "report by telephone."

To ring down (or up) a theatrical curtain, "direct it to be let down" (or up) is by 1772, from the custom of signaling for it by ringing a bell; hence, in a general sense "bring to a conclusion." To ring up a purchase on a cash register is by 1937, from the bell that sounds in the machine. The specialized sense, especially in reference to coins, "give a resonant sound when struck as an indication of genuineness or purity," is by c. 1600, with transferred use (as in ring hollow) by 1610s. For ring a bell "awaken a memory," see bell (n.).

Related entries & more 
clapper (n.)

late 13c., "something which strikes with a loud, sharp noise," agent noun from clap (v.). Meaning "tongue of a bell" is from late 14c. Old English had clipur. Meaning "hinged board snapped in front of a camera at the start of filming to synchronize picture and sound" is from 1940.

Clappering.—It is still necessary to warn clergymen and churchwardens against allowing the lazy and pernicious practice of 'clappering,' i.e. tying the bell-rope to the clapper, and pulling it instead of the bell. More bells have been cracked in that way than by all other causes together, and there is not the least excuse for it .... [Sir Edmund Beckett, "A Rudimentary Treatise on Clocks and Watches and Bells," London, 1883]
Related entries & more 
toll (v.)

"to sound with slow single strokes" (intransitive), mid-15c., probably a special use of tollen "to draw, lure," early 13c. variant of Old English -tyllan in betyllan "to lure, decoy," and fortyllan "draw away, seduce," of obscure origin. The notion is perhaps of "luring" people to church with the sound of the bells, or of "drawing" on the bell rope. Transitive sense from late 15c. Related: Tolled; tolling. The noun meaning "a stroke of a bell" is from mid-15c.

Related entries & more 
dong (n.)

"penis," 1891, slang, of unknown origin. Perhaps suggested by dingus and other names for unnameable things; perhaps suggesting of a sound of striking (clapper of a bell?); perhaps there's an element of donkey in it.

Related entries & more 

Page 4