knell(redirected from knells)
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Related to knells: sepulcher, kneel down, monody
toll the death knell
To cause or signal the impending end or ruin of something, especially a business, organization, or activity. Refers to the sound of a bell ringing (the knell) from a church to indicate that someone has died. The geometric expansion of the Internet and digital media has tolled the death knell for countless print-based businesses around the world.
sound the death knell for something
to cause something to end Everyone likes e-mail, but it hasn't sounded the death knell for snail mail quite yet.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of sound the death knell (to ring a church bell slowly to announce a person's death)
sound/toll the death knell
to cause an organization, system, or activity to fail or endSee ring hollow
Usage notes: A knell is the sound of a bell being rung slowly to tell people that someone has died.(often + for ) The new superstore will sound the death knell for hundreds of small independent shops. (sometimes + of ) The closure of the local car factory tolled the death knell of the town.
Something that indicates impending failure, as in His low scores sounded the death knell for his ambitions. The noun knell, used for the ringing of a bell since at least a.d. 1000, is rarely heard today except in this figurative phrase.