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ring 1 (rĭng)
1. A circular object, form, line, or arrangement.
2. A small circular band, generally made of precious metal and often set with jewels, worn on the finger.
3. A circular band used for carrying, holding, or containing something: a napkin ring.
4. rings Sports A pair of circular metal bands suspended in the air for gymnastic exercises, on which balancing and swinging maneuvers are performed while holding the bands as motionless as possible.
5. A circular movement or course, as in dancing.
6. An enclosed, usually circular area in which exhibitions, sports, or contests take place: a circus ring.
7. Sports
a. A rectangular arena set off by stakes and ropes in which boxing or wrestling events are held.
b. The sport of boxing.
8. Games
a. An enclosed area in which bets are placed at a racetrack.
b. Bookmakers considered as a group.
9. An exclusive group of people acting privately or illegally to advance their own interests: a drug ring.
10. A political contest; a race.
11. Botany An annual ring.
12. Mathematics The area between two concentric circles; annulus.
13. Mathematics A set of elements subject to the operations of addition and multiplication, in which the set is a commutative group under addition and associative under multiplication and in which the two operations are related by distributive laws.
14. Any of the turns constituting a spiral or helix.
15. Chemistry A group of atoms linked by bonds that may be represented graphically in polygonal form. Also called closed chain.
v. ringed, ring·ing, rings
1. To surround with or as if with a ring; encircle: Guests ringed the coffee table.
2. To form into a ring or rings.
3. To ornament or supply with a ring or rings: ringed the door knocker with a wreath of holly.
4. To remove a circular strip of bark around the circumference of (a tree trunk or branch); girdle.
5. To put a ring in the nose of (an animal).
6. To hem in (animals) by riding in a circle around them.
7. Games To toss a ring over (a peg), as in horseshoes.
1. To form a ring or rings.
2. To move, run, or fly in a spiral or circular course.

[Middle English, from Old English hring; see sker-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
(click for a larger image)
Chen Yibing of China at the 2008 Olympic Games
Beijing, China

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
ring 2 (rĭng)
v. rang (răng), rung (rŭng), ring·ing, rings
1. To give forth a clear resonant sound.
2. To cause something to ring.
3. To sound a bell in order to summon someone: I'll ring for the maid.
4. To have a sound or character suggestive of a particular quality: a story that rings true.
5. To be filled with sound; resound: The room rang with the children's laughter.
6. To hear a persistent humming or buzzing: My ears were ringing from the sound of the blast.
7. To be filled with talk or rumor: The whole town rang with the bad news.
1. To cause (a bell, for example) to ring.
2. To produce (a sound) by or as if by ringing.
3. To announce, proclaim, or signal by or as if by ringing: a clock that rings the hour.
4. Chiefly British To call (someone) on the telephone. Often used with up: She rang me at noon. Let's ring her up and invite her.
5. To test (a coin, for example) for quality by the sound it produces when struck against something.
1. The sound created by a bell or another sonorous vibrating object.
2. A loud sound, especially one that is repeated or continued.
3. A telephone call: Give me a ring when you have time.
4. A suggestion of a particular quality: His offer has a suspicious ring.
5. A set of bells.
6. The act or an instance of sounding a bell.
Phrasal Verb:
ring up
1. To record, especially by means of a cash register: ring up a sale.
2. To accomplish or achieve: rang up several consecutive victories.
3. Baseball
a. To call (a batter) out on strikes. Used of an umpire.
b. To strike out (a batter). Used of a pitcher.
ring a bell Informal
To arouse an often indistinct memory.
ring down the curtain
To end a performance, event, or action.
ring (someone's) chimes/bells Slang
To knock (an opponent) out by physical or other force.
ring up the curtain
To begin a performance, event, or action.

[Middle English ringen, from Old English hringan.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    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.