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ring (one's) bell

1. To strike someone with a violent blow to the head, especially as might stun or concuss. I would have rung that guy's bell if I knew he had been trash-talking you. Sarah's likely to ring your bell if you keep harassing her like that.
2. To be enjoyable, preferable, or satisfactory to someone; to be or provide something that someone wants. A: "How's that new book you're reading?" B: "Eh, it isn't really ringing my bell, to be honest." I'd rather go see the action movie, if that's all right. Dramas just don't ring my bell.
3. To sexually attract or arouse someone; to bring someone sexual gratification or satisfaction. That redhead from across the bar has been ringing my bell all night. He looks mighty fine, all right. I'd like to take him home and ring his bell!
See also: bell, ring

ring hollow

To sound or give the sense of being false, insincere, or not genuine. The statements that followed made her apology ring hollow. The dialogue in the film rings hollow—no one talks like that in real life.
See also: hollow, ring

ring the changes

To continually alter or change something. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. I'm not surprised that Tina showed up with purple hair today—she loves ringing the changes with her hair color.
See also: change, ring

ring a bell

To seem familiar, remind one of something, or stimulate an incomplete or indistinct memory. Your description rings a bell, but I don't think I've ever been there myself. A: "Have you ever heard of Steve Robinson?" B: "Hmm, the name doesn't ring a bell."
See also: bell, ring

ring off the hook

Of a telephone, to be ringing constantly or very frequently. The image is of the phone ringing so frequently that it falls off the cradle or wall attachment. Gosh, I'm exhausted. The phone was ringing off the hook all day at work! Ever since we announced the 2-for-1 deal, our phones have been ringing off the hook.
See also: hook, off, ring

ring true

To seem or sound true, sincere, or authentic. I personally don't think that their reasoning rings true. The actress's stirring performance really rings true for anyone who has gone through similar circumstances.
See also: ring, true

ring false

To seem or sound false, insincere, inauthentic, or deceitful. (Much less common than the opposite, "ring true.") I personally think that their reasoning rings a bit false. The actor's vacuous, overblown performance is sure to ring false for anyone who grew up in that part of the country.
See also: false, ring

ring up

1. To call someone on the phone. A noun or pronoun can be used between "ring" and "up." Here's my number—ring me up sometime, and we can go see a movie or something. I have to ring up someone about the branches that blew down in our neighborhood overnight.
2. To allow a retail customer to check out (complete their purchase) by recording the item or items they are purchasing and tally the amount of money they owe. A noun or pronoun can be used between "ring" and "up." I'm sorry, I'm closing this register. My colleague can ring you up at the next one. You can go on break after you're done ringing up everyone in your line.
3. To record the item or items a retail customer is purchasing and tally the amount of money they owe. A noun or pronoun can be used between "ring" and "up." The cashier had already started ringing my groceries up when I realized that I had forgotten to pick up eggs. Would you mind ringing this croissant up first? It's for my son to eat.
See also: ring, up

ring in (one's) ears

To still be vividly present in one's mind or memory, as if one can still here it. Usually said of something very loud or significant that one heard. The sound of the gunfire was still ringing in my ears the next morning. The horrible things she said to me have been ringing in my ears ever since.
See also: ear, ring

ring out the old and ring in the new

1. To celebrate the end of a year and usher in the start of a new one. It's that time of year again, when companies around the city start ringing out the old and ringing in the new with raucous office parties.
2. To mark transition between two stages or phases, as one ends and another begins. The revolutionary war, which rang out the old and rang in the new for the fledgling country, also had the unintended side effect of producing tens of thousands of refugees no longer welcome in the country due to their wartime allegiance.
See also: and, new, old, out, ring

ring the knell of (something)

old-fashioned To foreshadow, signal, announce, or proclaim the end or ruin of something. Refers to the sound of a bell ringing (the knell) from a church to indicate that someone has died. An uproarious applause strained the very timbers of the chamber, and rang the knell of slavery in this country forever. The geometric expansion of the Internet and digital media has rung the knell of countless print-based businesses around the world.
See also: knell, of, ring

ring down the curtain (on something)

1. To bring a performance or act of a play to an end by lowering the theater curtain. The phrase refers to the practice of ringing a bell to signal the lowering of the curtain in the theater. The audience gave a standing ovation as they rung down the curtain. The theater company will ring down the curtain on their award-winning play for the last time this Friday.
2. To bring about or signal the end of something. Following the announcement, the company will ring down the curtain on over 50 years of business.
See also: curtain, down, ring

ring (one's) bells

1. To render one stunned, insensible, or unconscious, as from a physical blow or the effects of a drug. I could hear him bad-mouthing my girlfriend, so I went over and rang his bells with a single left hook to the eye. Be careful with this stuff—it will really ring your bells if you take too much at once.
2. To be keenly attractive, interesting, or exciting to one. A lot of my friends are obsessed with going out and playing basketball or soccer, but reading a good novel is what rings my bells. If I'm honest, he isn't the type of man who would normally ring my bells, but he was so affable and funny that I felt attracted to him nonetheless.
See also: bell, ring

ring (one's) chimes

1. To render one stunned, insensible, or unconscious, as from a physical blow or the effects of a drug. I could hear him bad-mouthing my girlfriend, so I went over and rang his chimes with a single left hook to the eye. Be careful with this stuff—it will really ring your chimes if you take too much at once.
2. To be keenly attractive, interesting, or exciting to one. A lot of my friends are obsessed with going out and playing basketball or soccer, but reading a good novel is what rings my chimes. If I'm honest, he isn't the type of man who would normally ring my chimes, but he was so affable and funny that I felt attracted to him nonetheless.
See also: chime, ring

ring back

1. To call (someone or some place) on the telephone again, usually after failing to reach the desired person the first time. A noun or pronoun can be used between "ring" and "back." I didn't get an answer, so I'll trying ringing back tomorrow. I have to ring the passport office back in about an hour because everyone was out to lunch.
2. To return someone's or some organization's telephone call. A noun or pronoun is be used between "ring" and "back." I saw I missed a call from my mother, so I need to ring her back once we're finished eating. We are unable to answer the telephone right now, so please leave a message with your name and number, and we will ring you back as soon as possible.
See also: back, ring

ring in (one's) head

To still be vividly present in one's mind or memory, as if one can still here it. Usually said of something very loud or significant that one heard. The sound of the gunfire was still ringing in my head the next morning. The horrible things she said to me have been ringing in my head ever since.
See also: head, ring

ring out

To emit a loud, clear, resonant sound. Once the first shots rang out, we knew it was time to flee the city. I could hear the cheers ringing out in the distance as I approached the football stadium.
See also: out, ring

ring the curtain up (on something)

1. To begin or commence (something). It's time to ring the curtain up on this new project, everyone, so let's not waste any time! After a few delays, the construction crew was finally ready to ring the curtain up.
2. To make (something) publicly known; to reveal or disclose the truth (about something). In an attempt to head off a public relations disaster regarding his acceptance of donations, the governor decided to ring the curtain up at a press conference.
See also: curtain, ring, up

ring up the curtain (on something)

1. To begin or commence (something). It's time to ring up the curtain on this new project, everyone, so let's not waste any time! After a few delays, the construction crew was finally ready to ring up the curtain.
2. To make (something) publicly known; to reveal or disclose the truth (about something). In an attempt to head off a public relations disaster regarding his acceptance of donations, the governor decided to ring up the curtain at a press conference.
See also: curtain, ring, up

ring a bell

Fig. [for something] to cause someone to remember something or for it to seem familiar. I've never met John Franklin, but his name rings a bell. Whenever I see a bee, it rings a bell. I remember when I was stung by one.
See also: bell, ring

ring back

to call back on the telephone. No, there's no message. I'll ring back later. She's not here now. I suggest you ring back after dinner.
See also: back, ring

ring off the hook

Fig. [for a telephone] to ring incessantly and repeatedly. What a busy day! The telephone has been ringing off the hook all day long. The telephone has been ringing off the hook ever since the ad appeared in the paper.
See also: hook, off, ring

ring out

[for a loud sound] to go out. The bells rang out at the end of the wedding ceremony. Loud cheers rang out at the end of the game, A shot rang out and started all the dogs barking.
See also: out, ring

ring someone back

to call someone back on the telephone. I will have to ring back the store at a later time. Please ring me back when you have a moment.
See also: back, ring

ring someone up

to call someone on the telephone. I will ring her up when I get a chance. I have to ring up a whole list of people.
See also: ring, up

ring something up

to record the cost of an item on a cash register. Please ring this chewing gum up first, and I'll put it in my purse. The cashier rang up each item and told me how much money I owed.
See also: ring, up

ring true

Fig. to sound or seem true or likely. (From testing the quality of metal or glass by striking it and evaluating the sound made.) The student's excuse for being late doesn't ring true. Do you think that Mary's explanation for her absence rang true?
See also: ring, true

ring a bell

Arouse an indistinct memory, remind one of something, as in That name rings a bell-I think I've met him. The bell here summons up a memory. [1930s]
See also: bell, ring

ring false

Also, have a false or hollow ring ; strike a false note. Seem wrong or deceitful, as in Her denial rings false-I'm sure she was there when it happened, or His good wishes always seem to have a hollow ring, or Carol's congratulatory phone call really struck a false note. Ring false and the antonym, ring true, which means "seem genuine," allude to the old practice of judging a coin genuine or fake by the sound it gives out when tapped. This practice became obsolete when coins ceased to be made of precious metals, but by then the idioms were being used to refer to other matters. [Mid-1800s]
See also: false, ring

ring the changes

Keep varying how one performs an action or says something, as in She went on and on, ringing the changes on the joy of computers. This expression alludes to the art of change-ringing, where a series of church bells are rung in as many sequences, or changes, as possible. [Early 1600s]
See also: change, ring

ring true

see under ring false.
See also: ring, true

ring up

1. Record, especially by means of a cash register, as in They had already rung up the sale so I decided not to get the extra items. [c. 1930] Although older cash registers usually signaled a recorded sale with the ringing of a bell, the idiom survives in the age of computers.
2. Accomplish, achieve, as in They rang up an impressive string of victories.
See also: ring, up

ring a bell

If something rings a bell, it is slightly familiar to you and you know you have heard it before, but you do not remember it fully. The name rings a bell but I can't think where I've heard it. `I'll check and see if we've anything on him,' said the sergeant. `It doesn't ring a bell at the moment.'
See also: bell, ring

ring the changes

BRITISH
COMMON If you ring the changes, you make changes to the way something is organized or done in order to make it different or to improve it. I like to ring the changes with dark curtains in the winter, and light Indian ones in the summer. Choose a classic trouser suit that you can wear all year round, and ring the changes each season with blouses, scarves and jewellery. Note: In bell-ringing, to `ring the changes' means to ring a number of church bells, each of which gives a different note, one after the other in every possible combination.
See also: change, ring

ring hollow

or

sound hollow

COMMON If a statement or promise rings hollow or sounds hollow, it does not seem true or sincere. Now the promise of a long, secure career rings hollow, employers must find new ways to attract staff. Official claims that the two countries are close friends sound increasingly hollow. Note: You can also say that a statement or promise has a hollow ring. The Government's claim to be making record investments in railways has a very hollow ring. Compare with ring true. Note: The idea is of an object that is meant to be solid making a loud noise when struck, indicating that it is weaker or cheaper than it was believed to be.
See also: hollow, ring

ring true

If something that is said or written rings true, it seems to be true or sincere. It is Mandela's argument that rings true to American ears. When I first heard his reasons, they didn't ring true. Compare with ring hollow.
See also: ring, true

ring a bell

revive a distant recollection; sound familiar. informal
See also: bell, ring

ring the changes

vary the ways of expressing, arranging, or doing something.
In bell-ringing, the changes are the different sequences in which a peal of bells may be rung.
See also: change, ring

ring off the hook

(of a telephone) be constantly ringing due to a large number of incoming calls. North American
See also: hook, off, ring

ring a ˈbell

(informal) sound familiar; help you remember something, but not completely: That name rings a bell but I can’t remember exactly where I’ve heard it before.
See also: bell, ring

ring the ˈchanges (on something)

(British English) make changes to something in order to have greater variety: I’m pleased to see that they’re ringing the changes in the staff canteen. The new menus are much more interesting.This expression refers to bell-ringing, where the bells can be rung in different orders.
See also: change, ring

ˌring off the ˈhook

(American English) (of a telephone) ring many times: The phone has been ringing off the hook with offers of help.
See also: hook, off, ring

ˌring out the ˌold (year) and ˌring in the ˈnew

celebrate the end of one year and the start of the next one
See also: and, new, old, out, ring

ring back

v.
1. To telephone someone who has called previously: The store clerk rang back the customer who had left a message. I listened to the voice mail that my father had left, and then I rang him back.
2. To telephone someone or someplace again: She could tell he was busy, so she told him she would ring him back later. When I called I got the answering machine, so I left a message saying I'd ring back the next day.
See also: back, ring

ring out

v.
1. To sound with a clear, resonant tone: The monk pulled on the rope, and the bells rang out.
2. To mark or celebrate the end of something: We rang out the old year with a champagne toast.
See also: out, ring

ring up

v.
1. To record the sale of something, especially by using a cash register: She had already rung up the sale when I discovered that I didn't have enough money. I placed the items on the counter, and the cashier rang them up.
2. To record a sale to someone, especially by means of a cash register: I rang up the last two customers and closed the store. He can ring you up on the second register.
3. To call someone on the telephone: I'll ring you up this weekend. She rang up an old friend and asked him to dinner.
4. To amass some number or quantity of points or wins: They rang up seven consecutive victories before losing a game.
5. To amass some amount or quantity of credits or debits: The company rang up $2 billion in profits last year. With all the food that we ate, we rang a hefty bill up.
See also: ring, up

ring a bell

tv. to stir something in someone’s memory. Yes, that rings a bell. I seem to remember it.
See also: bell, ring

ring off the hook

in. [for a telephone] to ring endlessly or constantly. The phone was ringing off the hook when I came in.
See also: hook, off, ring

ring a bell

Informal
To arouse an often indistinct memory.
See also: bell, ring