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.
See also: death, knell, toll

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)
See also: death, knell, sound

sound/toll the death knell

to cause an organization, system, or activity to fail or end
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.
See ring hollow
See also: death, knell, sound

death knell

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.
See also: death, knell
References in classic literature ?
Thus we may draw a sad but profitable moral from this funeral knell.
When the spectral procession approached the altar, each couple separated, and slowly diverged, till, in the centre, appeared a form, that had been worthily ushered in with all this gloomy pomp, the death knell, and the funeral.
And therefore I have bidden these funeral friends, and bespoken the sexton's deepest knell, and am come, in my shroud, to wed you, as with a burial service, that we may join our hands at the door of the sepulchre, and enter it together.
And when the awful rite was finished, and with cold hand in cold hand, the Married of Eternity withdrew, the organ's peal of solemn triumph drowned the Wedding Knell.
And the clock, in the altar on which Iphigenia was situated, beginning, after a preparatory convulsion, to toll twelve, the mere tolling seemed as if it would last until one--so prolonged was the knell to the anxious spinster.
A knell from the church bell broke harshly on these youthful thoughts.
And, 'I wish I could stop the Lightwood peal, for it sounds like a knell.
I fancied it possible--but let us go ring fancy's knell.
The production is artfully raw and carefully crafted, framing Smith's sweetly resigned, fragile vocals and chords strummed like death knells - elements displayed to the world after his 1998 Academy Award nomination for ``Miss Misery,'' a song used in ``Good Will Hunting.
The Knells, who lived in North Hollywood from 1963 until last year, when they moved to Chatsworth, have nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.