The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Bell \Bell\, n. [AS. belle, fr. bellan to bellow. See Bellow.]
1. A hollow metallic vessel, usually shaped somewhat like a
cup with a flaring mouth, containing a clapper or tongue,
and giving forth a ringing sound on being struck.
Note: Bells have been made of various metals, but the best
have always been, as now, of an alloy of copper and
The Liberty Bell, the famous bell of the Philadelphia State
House, which rang when the Continental Congress declared
the Independence of the United States, in 1776. It had
been cast in 1753, and upon it were the words "Proclaim
liberty throughout all the land, to all the inhabitants
2. A hollow perforated sphere of metal containing a loose
ball which causes it to sound when moved.
3. Anything in the form of a bell, as the cup or corol of a
flower. "In a cowslip's bell I lie." --Shak.
4. (Arch.) That part of the capital of a column included
between the abacus and neck molding; also used for the
naked core of nearly cylindrical shape, assumed to exist
within the leafage of a capital.
5. pl. (Naut.) The strikes of the bell which mark the time;
or the time so designated.
Note: On shipboard, time is marked by a bell, which is struck
eight times at 4, 8, and 12 o'clock. Half an hour after
it has struck "eight bells" it is struck once, and at
every succeeding half hour the number of strokes is
increased by one, till at the end of the four hours,
which constitute a watch, it is struck eight times.
To bear away the bell, to win the prize at a race where the
prize was a bell; hence, to be superior in something.
To bear the bell, to be the first or leader; -- in allusion
to the bellwether or a flock, or the leading animal of a
team or drove, when wearing a bell.
To curse by bell, book, and candle, a solemn form of
excommunication used in the Roman Catholic church, the
bell being tolled, the book of offices for the purpose
being used, and three candles being extinguished with
certain ceremonies. --Nares.
To lose the bell, to be worsted in a contest. "In single
fight he lost the bell." --Fairfax.
To shake the bells, to move, give notice, or alarm. --Shak.
Note: Bell is much used adjectively or in combinations; as,
bell clapper; bell foundry; bell hanger; bell-mouthed;
bell tower, etc., which, for the most part, are
Bell arch (Arch.), an arch of unusual form, following the
curve of an ogee.
Bell cage, or Bell carriage (Arch.), a timber frame
constructed to carry one or more large bells.
Bell cot (Arch.), a small or subsidiary construction,
frequently corbeled out from the walls of a structure, and
used to contain and support one or more bells.
Bell deck (Arch.), the floor of a belfry made to serve as a
roof to the rooms below.
Bell founder, one whose occupation it is to found or cast
Bell foundry, or Bell foundery, a place where bells are
founded or cast.
Bell gable (Arch.), a small gable-shaped construction,
pierced with one or more openings, and used to contain
Bell glass. See Bell jar.
Bell hanger, a man who hangs or puts up bells.
Bell pull, a cord, handle, or knob, connecting with a bell
or bell wire, and which will ring the bell when pulled.
Bell punch, a kind of conductor's punch which rings a bell
Bell ringer, one who rings a bell or bells, esp. one whose
business it is to ring a church bell or chime, or a set of
musical bells for public entertainment.
Bell roof (Arch.), a roof shaped according to the general
lines of a bell.
Bell rope, a rope by which a church or other bell is rung.
Bell tent, a circular conical-topped tent.
Bell trap, a kind of bell shaped stench trap.