death knell

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: death-knell

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

death knell (plural death knells)

  1. The tolling of a bell announcing death.
    • 1873, Thomas Hardy, chapter 25, in A Pair of Blue Eyes:
      The sound was the stroke of a bell from the tower of East Endelstow Church. . . . The death-knell of an inhabitant of the eastern parish was being tolled.
    • 1890, Ambrose Bierce, chapter 1, in An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge:
      Its recurrence was regular, but as slow as the tolling of a death-knell.
  2. (idiomatic, by extension) A sign or omen foretelling the death or destruction of something.
    • 1901, Upton Sinclair, chapter 10, in King Midas:
      The thought was a death-knell to Helen's last hope.
    • 2004, Jamie James, "The Rise of a Musical Superpower," Time, 28 June:
      "It is the death knell of an orchestra if it doesn't have its own home," he says.
    • 2018, Michael Cottakis – LSE, “Colliding worlds: Donald Trump and the European Union”, in LSE's blog[1]:
      A rupture would represent a death knell for the West and would harm the US worker.


Translations[edit]