Belly-aching is a slang expression for complaining. Most people complain when they are suffering. When I was a child I was told that belly was a rude word – how times change!  (This is today’s red herring.)

A bell-pull is a mechanism for ringing a door-bell. When I moved to a village with houses dating from Tudor times onwards, I discovered a whole range of mechanisms for ringing bells.

Push-button is the most modern mechanism for doorbells. It has also replaced dials on telephones, but we still talk about dialling numbers.

A bell-tent has one tent pole at the centre. The shape of the tent is similar to a bell.

Belladonna is a poisonous plant – deadly nightshade. Bella donna means beautiful woman. The juice of the plant was used to dilate the pupils – do not try this at home!

The belle of the ball is the most beautiful woman at the dance. Cinderella is a good example from fairy stories.

To ring a bell with someone means that they have a vague recollection of a person/place or topic.  It doesn’t ring a bell with me.

Chime in means say something, perhaps by interrupting.

Some clocks have chimes and ring the quarters. Big Ben is a famous example. The quarters are divisions of each hour. We used to say o’clock, quarter past, half past and quarter to. Now digital clocks are so popular one hundred hours, one fifteen, one thirty and one forty-five may replace one o’clock, a quarter past one, half past one and a quarter to two. In the afternoon we have thirteen fifteen, for example.

A ding-dong is a row or noisy argument.

Saved by the bell is an expression borrowed from boxing and applied to other situations.

Ring-tones are a modern addition to the language and the sounds around us. We have a vast selection of ringing and other noises, which alert us to incoming calls on our mobile (cell) phones.

I wrote about the phrase for whom the bell tolls in an earlier post.

Church bells also feature here.

Bells are mentioned in the Bible. The high priest Aaron had bells on his robe. Exodus 28:31-35