Skip to main content

Ring a bell vs Ring the bell

ring a bell —(coll.) sound familiar; remind of smth.:

  • The name of the company rang a bell. One of my neighbors worked for them during the war.

ring the bell —(coll.)

1. (also: ring bells) be met with approval; be a complete success:

  • The President’s speeches ring the bell with certain segments of middle America.

2. supply exactly what is necessary or desired:

  • A good hot bowl of soup would ring the bell about now.

Note: The expression does not correlate in meaning with the phrase who will ring the bell—used to ask who will assume the responsibility in a difficult situation:

  • I agree that allegations should be investigated. The question is, who will ring the bell?

See also: ring one’s bell / ring someone’s bell.