- a typically circular band of metal or other durable material, especially one of gold or other precious metal, often set with gems, for wearing on the finger as an ornament, a token of betrothal or marriage, etc.
- anything having the form of such a band: a napkin ring; a smoke ring.
- a circular or surrounding line or mark: dark rings around the eyes.
- a circular course: to dance in a ring.
- a number of persons or things situated in a circle or in an approximately circular arrangement: a ring of stones; a ring of hills.
- the outside edge of a circular body, as a wheel; rim.
- an enclosed area, often circular, as for a sports contest or exhibition: a circus ring.
- a bullring.
- an enclosure in which boxing and wrestling matches take place, usually consisting of a square, canvas-covered platform with surrounding ropes that are supported at each corner by posts.
- the sport of boxing; prizefighting: the heyday of the ring.
- (formerly in the U.S., now only in Brit.) an area in a racetrack where bookmakers take bets.
- a group of persons cooperating for unethical, illicit, or illegal purposes, as to control stock-market prices, manipulate politicians, or elude the law: a ring of dope smugglers.
- a single turn in a spiral or helix or in a spiral course.
- Geometry. the area or space between two concentric circles.
- annual ring.
- a circle of bark cut from around a tree.
- Chemistry. a number of atoms so united that they may be graphically represented in cyclic form.Compare chain(def 7).
- Architecture. rowlock(def 1).
- a bowlike or circular piece at the top of an anchor, to which the chain or cable is secured.
- Also called spinning ring. Textiles. (in the ring-spinning frame) a circular track of highly polished steel on which the traveler moves and which imparts twists to the yarn by variations in its vertical movement.
- a unit of measurement of the diameter of cigars, equal to 1/64 of an inch.Also called ring gauge.
- Automotive, Machinery. piston ring.
- Mathematics. a set that is closed under the operations of addition and multiplication and that is an Abelian group with respect to addition and an associative semigroup with respect to multiplication and in which the distributive laws relating the two operations hold.
verb (used with object), ringed, ring·ing.
- to surround with a ring; encircle.
- to form into a ring.
- to insert a ring through the nose of (an animal).
- to hem in (animals) by riding or circling about them.
- to girdle(def 11).
- (in horseshoes, ringtoss, etc.) to encircle (a stake or peg) with a ring, horseshoe, etc.
verb (used without object), ringed, ring·ing.
- to form a ring or rings.
- to move in a ring or a constantly curving course: The road rings around the mountain.
- run rings around, to be obviously superior to; surpass; outdo: As an artist, she can run rings around her brother.
- throw/toss one’s hat in/into the ring. hat(def 8).
verb (used without object), rang, rung, ring·ing.
- to give forth a clear resonant sound, as a bell when struck: The doorbell rang twice.
- to make a given impression on the mind; appear: words that rang false; a story that rings true.
- to cause a bell or bells to sound, especially as a summons: Just ring if you need anything.
- to sound loudly; be loud or resonant; resound (often followed by out): His brave words rang out.
- to be filled with sound; reecho with sound, as a place.
- (of the ears) to have the sensation of a continued humming sound.
- Chiefly British. to telephone.
verb (used with object), rang, rung, ring·ing.
- to cause (a bell or device with a bell) to ring; sound by striking: to ring a bell.
- to produce (sound) by or as if by ringing: The bell rang a low tone.
- to announce or proclaim, usher in or out, summon, signal, etc., by or as if by the sound of a bell: to ring someone’s praises; The bell rang the hour.
- to test (a coin or other metal object) by the sound it produces when struck against something.
- Chiefly British. to telephone.
- a ringing sound, as of a bell or bells: the ring of sleigh bells.
- a sound or tone likened to the ringing of a bell: Rings of laughter issued from the school.
- any loud sound; sound continued, repeated, or reverberated: the ring of iron upon stone.
- a set or peal of bells.
- a telephone call: Give me a ring tomorrow.
- an act or instance of ringing a bell: No one answered my ring.
- a characteristic sound, as of a coin.
- the aspect or impression presented by a statement, an action, etc., taken as revealing a specified inherent quality: a ring of assurance in her voice; the ring of truth; a false ring.
- ring in,
- to indicate one’s arrival at work by punching in on a time clock.
- Informal.to introduce artfully or fraudulently: to ring in an imposter.
- ring off,
- to terminate a telephone conversation.
- British Slang.to stop talking.
- British Slang.to go away.
- ring out,
- to indicate one’s departure from work by punching out on a time clock.
- to make a sound or noise; resound: The church bells rang out.
- ring up,
- to register (the amount of a sale) on a cash register.
- to accomplish or record: to ring up a series of successes.
- Chiefly British.to telephone.
- ring a bell. bell1(def 15).
- ring down the curtain,
- to direct that the curtain of a theater be lowered or closed.
- to lower or close the curtain in front of a stage.
- ring down the curtain on, to bring to an end: The accident rang down the curtain on his law career.
- ring the/someone’s bell. bell1(def 16).
- ring the changes. change(def 39).
- ring up the curtain,
- to direct that the curtain of a theater be raised or opened.
- to raise or open the curtain in front of a stage.
- ring up the curtain on, to begin; inaugurate; initiate: The $100-a-plate dinner rang up the curtain on the hospital’s fund-raising drive.
- a male given name.
- a circular band usually of a precious metal, esp gold, often set with gems and worn upon the finger as an adornment or as a token of engagement or marriage
- any object or mark that is circular in shape
- a circular path or courseto run around in a ring
- a group of people or things standing or arranged so as to form a circlea ring of spectators
- an enclosed space, usually circular in shape, where circus acts are performed
- a square apron or raised platform, marked off by ropes, in which contestants box or wrestle
- the ring the sport of boxing
- the field of competition or rivalry
- throw one’s hat in the ring to announce one’s intention to be a candidate or contestant
- a group of people usually operating illegally and covertlya drug ring; a paedophile ring
- (esp at country fairs) an enclosure, often circular, where horses, cattle, and other livestock are paraded and auctioned
- an area reserved for betting at a racecourse
- a circular strip of bark cut from a tree or branch, esp in order to kill it
- a single turn in a spiral
- geometry the area of space lying between two concentric circles
- maths a set that is subject to two binary operations, addition and multiplication, such that the set is an Abelian group under addition and is closed under multiplication, this latter operation being associative
- botany short for annual ring
- Also called: closed chain chem a closed loop of atoms in a molecule
- astronomy any of the thin circular bands of small bodies orbiting a giant planet, esp SaturnSee also Saturn 2 (def. 1)
- run rings around informal to be greatly superior to; outclass completely
verb rings, ringing or ringed (tr)
- to surround with or as if with or form a ring; encircle
- to mark (a bird) with a ring or clip for subsequent identification
- to fit a ring in the nose of (a bull, pig, etc) so that it can be led easily
- Also: ringbark
- to cut away a circular strip of bark from (a tree or branch) in order to kill it
- to cut a narrow or partial ring from (the trunk of a tree) in order to check or prevent vigorous growth
- Australian and NZ to be the fastest shearer in a shearing shed (esp in the phrase ring the shed)
verb rings, ringing, rang or rung
- to emit or cause to emit a sonorous or resonant sound, characteristic of certain metals when struck
- to cause (a bell) to emit a ringing sound by striking it once or repeatedly or (of a bell) to emit such a sound
- (tr)to cause (a large bell, esp a church bell) to emit a ringing sound by pulling on a rope that is attached to a wheel on which the bell swings back and forth, being sounded by a clapper inside itCompare chime 1 (def. 6)
- (intr)(of a bell) to sound by being swung in this way
- (intr) (of a building, place, etc) to be filled with sound; echothe church rang with singing
- (intr foll by for) to call by means of a bell, buzzer, etcto ring for the butler
- Also: ring up mainly British to call (a person) by telephone
- (tr) to strike or tap (a coin) in order to assess its genuineness by the sound produced
- (intr) (of the ears) to have or give the sensation of humming or ringing
- (intr) electronics (of an electric circuit) to produce a damped oscillatory wave after the application of a sharp input transition
- slang to change the identity of (a stolen vehicle) by using the licence plate, serial number, etc, of another, usually disused, vehicle
- ring a bell to sound familiar; remind one of something, esp indistinctly
- ring down the curtain
- to lower the curtain at the end of a theatrical performance
- (foll by on)to put an end (to)
- ring false to give the impression of being false
- ring the bell
- to do, say, or be the right thing
- to reach the pinnacle of success or happiness
- ring the changes to vary the manner or performance of an action that is often repeated
- ring true to give the impression of being truethat story doesn’t ring true
- the act of or a sound made by ringing
- a sound produced by or suggestive of a bell
- any resonant or metallic sound, esp one sustained or re-echoedthe ring of trumpets
- informal, mainly British a telephone callhe gave her a ring last night
- the complete set of bells in a tower or belfrya ring of eight bells See peal 1 (def. 3)
- an inherent quality or characteristichis explanation has the ring of sincerity
- electronics the damped oscillatory wave produced by a circuit that rings
“circular band,” Old English hring “small circlet, especially one of metal for wearing on the finger or as part of a mail coat; anything circular,” from Proto-Germanic *khrengaz (cf. Old Norse hringr, Old Frisian hring, Danish, Swedish, Dutch ring, Old High German hring, German Ring), literally “something curved,” from PIE *skrengh- nasalized form of (s)kregh-, from root *(s)ker- “to turn, bend,” with wide-ranging derivative senses (cf. Latin curvus “bent, curved,” crispus “curly;” Old Church Slavonic kragu “circle,” and perhaps Greek kirkos “ring,” koronos “curved”).
Other Old English senses were “circular group of persons,” also “horizon.” Meaning “place for prize fight and wrestling bouts” (early 14c.) is from the space in a circle of bystanders in the midst of which such contests once were held, “… a circle formed for boxers, wrestlers, and cudgel players, by a man styled Vinegar; who, with his hat before his eyes, goes round the circle, striking at random with his whip to prevent the populace from crowding in” [Grose, 1788]. Meaning “combination of interested persons” is from 1829. Of trees, from 1670s; fairy ring is from 1620s. Ring finger is Old English hringfingr, a compound found in other Germanic languages. To run rings round (someone) “be superior to” is from 1891.
Nursery rhyme ring a ring a rosie is attested in an American form (with a different ending) from c.1790. “The belief that the rhyme originated with the Great Plague is now almost universal, but has no evidence to support it and is almost certainly nonsense” [“Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore”]. This proposal of connection dates only to the late 1960s.
“sound a bell,” Old English hringan “sound, give a certain resonant sound when struck; announce by bells,” from Proto-Germanic *khrenganan (cf. Old Norse hringja, Swedish ringa, Middle Dutch ringen), probably of imitative origin. Related: Rang; rung. Originally a weak verb, strong inflexion began in early Middle English by influence of sing, etc. To ring down a theatrical curtain is from 1772, from the custom of signaling for it by ringing a bell. To ring up a purchase on a cash register is by 1937, from the bell that sounded. Specialized sense “give a resonant sound when struck as an indication of genuineness or purity,” with transferred use (e.g. to ring hollow) is from 1610s.
“make a circle around,” Old English ymbhringan, from the root of ring (n.1). Intransitive sense “gather in a ring” is mid-15c. Sense of “provide or attach a ring” is late 14c. Meaning “move in a circle around” is from 1825. Related: Ringed; ringing. Cf. Frisian ringje, Middle Dutch and Dutch ringen, Old High German ringan, German ringen, Old Norse hringa, hringja.
1540s, “set of church bells,” from ring (v.1). Meaning “a call on the telephone” is from 1900; to give (someone) a ring “call on the telephone” was in use by 1910. Meaning “a ringing tone” is from 1620s; specifically “the ringing sound made by a telephone” by 1951. Meaning “resonance of coin or glass as a test of genuineness” is from 1850, with transferred use (ring of truth, etc.).
- A circular object, form, or arrangement with a vacant circular center.
- The area between two concentric circles; annulus.
- A group of atoms linked by bonds that may be represented graphically in circular or triangular form.
- A set of elements subject to the operations of addition and multiplication, in which the set is an abelian group under addition and associative under multiplication and in which the two operations are related by distributive laws.
- A group of atoms linked by bonds that may be represented graphically in circular or triangular form. Benzene, for example, contains a ring of six carbon atoms. All cyclic compounds contain one or more rings. See annulus.
- See growth ring.
In addition to the idioms beginning with ring
- ring a bell
- ring down the curtain on
- ring false
- ring one’s chimes
- ringside seat
- ring the changes
- ring true
- ring up
- brass ring
- give someone a ring
- have a familiar ring
- run rings around
- three-ring circus
- throw one’s hat in the ring