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Related to toll: take a toll, Toll roads
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.
The number of deaths that have occurred after some major deadly event, such as an accident, act of violence, or natural disaster. The death toll of the conflict between the two countries is well over 2,000 people as of this morning.
take (quite) a toll (on someone or something)
to cause damage or wear by using something or by hard living. Years of sunbathing took a toll on Mary's skin. Drug abuse takes quite a toll on the lives of people.
toll for someone
[for a bell] to ring for someone. Who are the bells tolling for? The bells are tolling for Mr. Green, who died last night.
See also: toll
take its tollalso take a toll
to cause harm or suffering Divorce takes its toll on the children involved.
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.
take a/its/their toll
to have a bad effect on someone or something (often + on ) Bringing up nine children had taken its toll on my mother. The disease has taken a horrendous toll in parts of western Africa.See sound the death knell
take its toll
Be damaging or harmful, cause loss or destruction, as in The civil war has taken its toll on both sides, or The heavy truck traffic has taken its toll on the highways. This expression transfers the taking of toll, a tribute or tax, to exacting other costs. [Late 1800s]