Rings A Bell

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Rings A Bell : Phrases


To sound familiar; to call something to mind; to stir a vague memory.


I don't remember meeting him, but the name Joe
rings a bell.


Bells such as the type used in churches are large and loud. Their sound can be heard from a great distance. Bells sound a single, clear note so their sound is distinctive and not easily confused.

Before electric sirens and amplification systems, bells were a valuable means of signaling people and alerting of important events.

Further, accurate timepieces were not always as available as they are today. Bells were used to signal people of the start of events such as a church session, the start of school, or a celebration. The bells acted as a reminder of the start of the event for people who had an out of synch timepiece or no timepiece. Someone would literally ring a bell as a reminder.

As an aside bells were later used on clocks to mark the hour. A large clock usually in the town square could be heard throughout the town. This clock acted as a master time reference for the town. The hourly bell ringing gave people an opportunity to synchronize their respective timepieces, and early watches required frequent adjustment.

Alternative: There are many bells that ring to remind or instruct us to do things: doorbell (open the door), telephone bell (pick up the phone), school bell (come to class), toaster bell (take out the toast), and the clothes dryer bell (take out the clothes). So, if something such as a face, a name, a number, or a date
rings a bell, it causes you to remember something.
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