1. a loud, prolonged ringing of bells.
  2. a set of bells tuned to one another.
  3. a series of changes rung on a set of bells.
  4. any loud, sustained sound or series of sounds, as of cannon, thunder, applause, or laughter.

verb (used with object)

  1. to sound loudly and sonorously: to peal the bells of a tower.
  2. Obsolete. to assail with loud sounds.

verb (used without object)

  1. to sound forth in a peal; resound.


  1. a loud prolonged usually reverberating sound, as of bells, thunder, or laughter
  2. bell-ringing a series of changes rung in accordance with specific rules, consisting of not fewer than 5000 permutations in a ring of eight bells
  3. (not in technical usage) the set of bells in a belfry


  1. (intr) to sound with a peal or peals
  2. (tr) to give forth loudly and sonorously
  3. (tr) to ring (bells) in peals


  1. a dialect name for a grilse or a young sea trout

n.mid-14c., “a ringing of a bell” especially as a call to church service, generally considered a shortened form of appeal (n.), with the notion of a bell that “summons” people to church (cf. similar evolution in peach (v.)). Extended sense of “loud ringing of bells” is first recorded 1510s. v.1630s, from peal (n.). Related: Pealed; pealing.

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