bell, book, and candle


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bell, book, and candle

1. A method of putting a curse on someone. The phrase refers to the implements once used when someone was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. I'll go after him bell, book, and candle if he threatens my family again.
2. Items that are symbolic or indicative of the strange or miraculous. She's the type of person who will come over with bell, book, and candle to try to bring about positive changes in your life.
See also: and, candle

bell, book, and candle things that are miraculous or that signal that something

unusual or bizarre may soon happen. (Alluding originally to the items used when performing the rite of excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church.) Look, I can't work miracles! Do you expect me to show up at your house with bell, book, and candle, and make everything right? You have to take charge of your own destiny! On the top shelf of the tiny used-book store, Jim saw a bell, book, and candle sitting in a row, and he knew he was going to find some very interesting reading material.

bell, book, and candle

a formula for laying a curse on someone.
This expression alludes to the closing words of the rite of excommunication, ‘Do to the book, quench the candle, ring the bell’, meaning that the service book is closed, the candle put out, and the passing bell rung, as a sign of spiritual death.
See also: and, candle
References in periodicals archive ?
His plays include Old Acquaintance (1940); The Damask Cheek, with Lloyd Morris (1942); The Voice of the Turtle (1943); I Remember Mama, based on sketches by <IR> KATHRYN FORBES </IR> (1944); Bell, Book, and Candle (1950); and I Am a Camera, based on sketches by Christopher Isherwood (1951).
The phrase bell, book, and candle appears in Shakespeare's King John (III, 3): "Bell, book, and candle shall not drive me back,/ When gold and silver becks me to come on.
Bell, Book, and Candle (1950) is also the title of a play by John Van Druten (1901 - 57), about a beautiful present - day witch who falls in love with a man and loses her powers as a sorceress.