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"Clear (sound) as a bell"

Posted by Bruce Kahl on March 26, 2001

In Reply to: "Clear (sound) as a bell" posted by ESC on March 26, 2001

: : : Does anyone know the meaning or orgin of the phrase "Clear as a bell"? If you know, or could find out from a reliable source, I would greatly appreciate it. I have looked everywhere and can't find it! Thanks!
: : : -Anna

: : The phrase means simply "very clear." A bell is used as a model of clarity because the sound of a bell ringing is a clear tone. In the realm of sound, the opposite of clear is dull.

: It's an old phrase. I don't know this origin but this is an early citation.

: CLEAR (SOUND) AS A BELL -- "In good voice or health, a trustworthy proposition. Thus, Thomas Newton in a translation from Latin of Lemnius's 'Touchstone of Complexions': 'They be people commonly healthy, and sound as a Bell.'" From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).

Back in the 1910's, many companies were trying to get into the manufacturing and selling one of the hottest items around, the phonograph. One of those companies was the Sonora Chime Company.

This company started the Sonora Phonograph Company and used "Clear as a Bell" as their slogan, touting the fidelity of their machine's sound reproduction.