Posted by ESC on September 06, 2005
In Reply to: Bells and whistles posted by Kanyaraj on September 06, 2005
: What is the origin of the phrase "With all the bells and whistles"?
Here is what was said previously. Anyone got a new take on this phrase?
bells and whistles ... noun phrase
In colloquial use in computing, additional facilities in a system, program, etc. which help to make it commercially attractive but are often not really essential; gimmicks.
An allusion to the old fairground organs, with their multiplicity of _bells_ and _whistles_; the _bells_ of a computer are actually a range of electronic bleeps.
There are more tha 600 microsystems on the market so it is hardly surprising that the manufacturers have taken to hanging a few bells and whistles on to their machines to get them noticed.
_Sunday Times_ 26 Aug. 1984, p. 49
From _The Oxford Dictionary of New Words_