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at the bottom of the ladder
Occupying the lowest, most basic position in a given group. Quarks are at the bottom of the ladder in the physical makeup of matter. Tech startups may start at the bottom of the ladder economically, but, given their business model, they have a very high potential for growth.
get (one's) bell rung
To receive a violent blow or injury, especially to the head and as might stun, concuss, or incapacitate. Sean got his bell rung by some guy in the bar last night after insulting his girlfriend. No wonder you keep getting your bell rung with the way you hassle people.
on the bottom rung (of the ladder)
1. Occupying the most basic or fundamental position in a given group. Quarks are on the bottom rung of the ladder when it comes to matter's physical makeup. We'll need to start getting supplies ready. On the bottom rung are the standard things—pens, paper, folders, that sort of thing.
2. Occupying the lowest position in a hierarchy, as in terms of power, influence, respect, etc. Tech startups may start on the bottom rung economically, but, given their business model, they have a very high potential for growth. Warehouse workers are on the bottom rung of the ladder, so we're often not treated with as much respect as those working desk jobs.
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!
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."
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 the performance a standing ovation as the theater rang down the curtain. The shocking twist at the end of the second act left the audience in stunned silence as the curtain was rung down.
2. To bring about or signal the end of something. The company announced that it will ring down the curtain after nearly 50 years of business. The government is ringing down the curtain on the controversial program next month.
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.
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.
1. To call an organization, typically to impart some particular information. (In usages 1-3, the past tense of "ring" is "rang," and the past participle is "rung.") Mike rang in to say that he was going to be late to the meeting. We've had a number of listeners ringing in to the station to give us their opinions on the topic.
2. To report some information over the phone, especially to law enforcement. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "ring" and "in." If you see something suspicious, don't hesitate to ring it in. Thankfully, a kayaker rang in the incident to the coast guard, and they managed to rescue everyone aboard the capsized ship.
3. To celebrate the arrival of some event or moment in time with cheer and revelry, likened to the ringing of bells. I love being among the thousands of people downtown who gather together to ring in the new year. We hold a choir festival every December to ring in the holiday season.
4. To enclose someone or something in or as in a circular shape. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "ring" and "in." (The past tense and past participle for this entry are both "ringed.") A beautiful hedge of rose bushes rings in the small terrace, giving it a peaceful feeling of privacy and security. Police officers had ringed us in, so we had no choice but to surrender.
See also: ring
1. To form a barrier in or as in a circular shape. (The past tense and past participle for this entry are both "ringed.") Heavy iron fences ring off the animal enclosure to prevent them from getting out—and foolhardy visitors from getting in. Military forces ringed off the area to prevent the rebels from escaping.
2. In hockey, to hit one of the goalposts with the puck, producing a ringing sound as a result. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "ring" and "off." (In usages 2-3, the past tense of "ring" is "rang," and the past participle is "rung.") With an open net in front of him, the forward had a chance to send the game to overtime, but he rang the puck off the crossbar. I rang it off the post three times in a row before finally scoring a goal.
3. To finish a telephone call; to hang up. Primarily heard in UK. I knew the call was a scam, because the man on the other end rang off as soon as I asked him for his credentials. She had rung off in a huff before I could tell her how I really felt.
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.
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.
ring the curtain down (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 the performance a standing ovation as the theater rang the curtain down. The shocking twist at the end of the second act left the audience in stunned silence as the curtain was rung down.
2. To bring about or signal the end of something. The company announced that it will ring the curtain down after nearly 50 years of business. The government is ringing the curtain down on the controversial program next month.
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.
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.
the first/top rung on the ladder
The top or superior position in a particular field or arena. The first rung on the ladder in this school is captain of the football team.
the lowest rung of the ladder
The lowest, most basic position in a given group. Quarks are at the lowest rung of the ladder in the physical makeup of matter. Tech startups may start on the lowest rung of the ladder economically, but, given their business model, they have a very high potential for growth.
the lowest rung on the ladder
The person with the least amount of experience, authority, and/or influence in a social or corporate hierarchy. It can be a little daunting going from being a senior in high school to the lowest rung of the ladder again as a college freshman. I know I'll be the lowest rung on the ladder with this internship, but it will at least give me a place to start my career!
wring (one's) neck
To strangle someone. The phrase is used as a threat, but never refers to actually strangling someone. I'll wring your neck the next time you talk to me like that, you hear me? That's the second time this week he's eaten my lunch. I ought to wring his neck!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
at the bottom of the ladderand on the bottom rung (of the ladder)
Fig. at the lowest level of pay and status. (Alludes to the lowness of the bottom rung of a ladder.) Most people start work at the bottom of the ladder. After Ann got fired, she had to start all over again on the bottom rung.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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]
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]
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 under ring false.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.'
ring the changesBRITISH
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.
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.
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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
ring a bellrevive a distant recollection; sound familiar. informal
ring the changesvary 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.
ring off the hook(of a telephone) be constantly ringing due to a large number of incoming calls. North American
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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.
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.
ˌring off the ˈhook(American English) (of a telephone) ring many times: The phone has been ringing off the hook with offers of help.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ring a bell
tv. to stir something in someone’s memory. Yes, that rings a bell. I seem to remember it.
ring off the hook
in. [for a telephone] to ring endlessly or constantly. The phone was ringing off the hook when I came in.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
ring a bellInformal
To arouse an often indistinct memory.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.