Word of the day – tintinnabulation

tintinnabulation = the act or an instance of the ringing or pealing of bells. From Latin tintinnāre to tinkle, from tinnīre to ring.

Related words
tintinnabulte = to ring, to tinkle
tintinnabulary = a bellringer
tintinnabulum = a small high-pitched bell
tinnitus = medical term for a ringing or buzzing in the ears

I came across this word on World Wide Words today and it really appeals to me as a pleasant-sounding word and as a fine example of onomatopoeia. Another onomatopoeic term for the ringing of bells in ding dong, in both English and French. The French for tintinnabulation is tintinnabulement, the Spanish is campanilleo, and the German is Klingeln.

What sounds do bells make in other languages?

This entry was posted in English, Language, Words and phrases.

13 Responses to Word of the day – tintinnabulation

  1. TJ says:

    The verb “to ring” in Arabic is “ran” (short A)
    which sounds like it is derived from the sound itself “ring ring”

  2. When I read the word in the title it made me think of Tintin, although it obviously has nothing to do with that! It does make me wonder where the name Tintin came from though.

  3. Polly says:

    In Western Armenian, “Bell” is “zankag”/”զանգակ.” Not really onomatopoeic. But, I guess it depends on the type of bells commonly used. Are they high pitched or are they a short, low gong, or ZONK? I would surmise from this that “zankal” means “to ring.” Never needed the verb before so I’m not 100% sure.

  4. TJ says:

    Such a word reminds me as well of “bang” which moved to be “big bang” in astronomy and now the expression is derived from its astrological content to denote or express everything huge in effects

  5. Zachary R. says:

    In French, it’s easy to associate « ding, dang, dong! » to the « clochettes » from the song Frère Jacques.

  6. Laci the Hun says:

    well in Hungarian you can say it in several ways
    if it’s a tiny bell we say “csilingel [tSilingel]” and the sound is usually described as “csingi-ling” (sounds like Chineese :D) one type of tiny bell is called “csengettyű” [tSengettjy]
    if it’s a bigger bell we say “kong” or “bong” such big bells are called as “harang” and the sound intrestingly not described as king-kong 🙂 but rather “ding-dong”
    if it’s a bell hanging on the neck of a cow or a sheep it is called “kolomp” and the verb derived from this is “kolompol”
    there are some other less common expressions as well

    in Esperanto the verb “to tinkle” is “sonoreti” or “sonorileti” if it’s a hollow sound then we say “gongi”

    sorry for the rather poor transcriptions but I don’t have IPA symbols

  7. Alex says:

    In Hebrew, the verb “ring (a bell)” is “tsiltsel,” which also sounds onomatopoeic. Apparently, the Hebrew equivalent of “ding-dong” is “gling-gling,” though that’s a modern coinage.

  8. TJ says:

    I remember also the word for “sound” in Hebrew is “Tsaleel” (I think it is derived from tsiltsil as well). In archaic hebrew it would be “SSaleel” I guess.

  9. TJ says:

    Polly >>> Are you Armenian? There are some puzzles waiting for you!!! 🙂

  10. Polly says:

    TJ – Puzzles?

  11. TJ says:

    Yes, the puzzles page in this site!
    you didn’t see the armenian rug and the armenian marble plate?

  12. Polly says:

    I checked after I asked.
    I can read the letters quite readily, but they don’t make sense.
    The rug looks like a name, “Anig(k)” followed by two initals, Kh. Ah. and then a date followed by the letter, ‘T’/’Թ’ which stands for “Tiv” which means “date.” i.e. the date the rug was made. Armenian letters are used for numbers as well, but the two characters that look like “5”s wouldn’t represent a double digit number, rather it would read 7 and then 7, not seventy seven, that would be a different representation.
    The marble plaque has the letters ‘SP’/’ՍԲ’ in a couple different places. ‘SP’ usually stands for ‘Soorp’ which means “holy” or “saint.” Other than that, the other words were unrecognizable. Maybe someone familiar with archaic or liturgical Armenian can guess. Or maybe my vocabulary needs expanding|:-D
    Anyway, I’m sure you didn’t care to actually see all this but were just commenting on the puzzles. Thanks for cluing me into them. I hadn’t noticed before.

  13. TJ says:

    No, in fact I do care!
    I have an armenian friend but unfortunately we are not in contact like before (students studying medicine don’t have time even for such things!!).
    Anyway, Armenian is interesting because of its classification, and yet not so much mentioned about it although we have in the middle east a direct contact with armenians!
    I would say that the position of interest in Armenian (for me) is the same interest in coptic and aramaic. It is a brick in the eastern church that cannot be neglected!

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