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Seven bells of hell

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 04, 2009 at 10:35

In Reply to: Seven bells of hell posted by Vic Allen on June 03, 2009 at 18:25:

: Any ideas about the origin of "seven bells of hell" - as in "he knocked seven bells of hell out of him"? I've got a few etymologies and phrase books but none of them refer to it, while a Google search mainly throws up a recipe for a dish which has seven types of pepper bells in it.

It's a merging of two separate phrases: "to knock seven bells out of [someone]", which is 1920s British nautical slang, and ""hell's bells", which is an 1840s American curse, for which see here: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-lik3.htm (VSD)