v. knelled, knell·ing, knells
1. To ring slowly and solemnly, especially for a funeral; toll.
2. To give forth a mournful or ominous sound.
To signal, summon, or proclaim by tolling.
1. The sound of a bell knelling; a toll.
2. A signal of disaster or destruction.
[Middle English knellen, from Old English cnyllan.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.