"lively, in good spirits," a variant of pert (q.v.).
mid-14c., pele, "a ringing of a bell" especially as a call to church service; generally considered a shortened form of appeal (n.), with the notion of a bell that "summons" people to church (compare similar evolution in peach (v.)). Middle English pele also had the sense of "an accusation, an appeal" (15c.), and apele for "a ringing of bells" is attested from mid-15c.
Extended sense of "loud ringing of bells" is first recorded 1510s; subsequently it was transferred to other successions of loud sounds (thunder, cannon, mass shouts or laughter). Meaning "set of bells tuned to one another" is by 1789.
Middle English pere, from Old English pere, peru "fruit of the pear tree," common West Germanic (Middle Dutch, Middle Low German pere, Old High German pira, bira, Dutch peer), from Vulgar Latin *pera, variant of Latin pira, plural (taken for fem. singular) of pirum "pear," a loan word from an unknown source, perhaps Semitic or a lost Mediterranean language. It likely shares an origin with Greek apion "pear," apios "pear tree." Their cultivation began as much as 3,000 years ago.
"nacreous inner layer of the shell of various bivalve mollusks," c. 1500, translating Medieval Latin mater perlarum, with the first element perhaps connected in popular imagination with obsolete mother (n.2) "dregs." Compare Italian madreperla, French mère-perle, Dutch parelmoer, German Perlmutter, Danish perlemor. It is the stuff of pearls but in a layer instead of a mass.
1520s, "pointed top, projecting summit," a variant of pike (n.4) "sharp point." Meaning "top of a mountain, a precipitous mountain with a more or less conical summit" is recorded by 1630s, though pike was used in this sense c. 1400. Figurative sense is 1784. Of beards, 1590s; of hats, 1650s. Meaning "point formed by hair on the forehead" is from 1833. As "the highest point" in any varying quantity, or the time when this occurs, by 1902.
The Peak, the prominent hill in Derbyshire, England, is older than the word for "mountaintop;" compare Old English Peaclond, for the district, Pecsaetan, for the people who settled there, Peaces ærs for Peak Cavern. In this case it is sometimes said to be a reference to an elf-denizen Peac "Puck."
1630s, "sound loudly, resound" (intransitive), from peal (n.). Transitive sense of "to utter or cause to ring loudly and sonorously" is by 1714. Related: Pealed; pealing.