Q: Meaning of "ringer"?
David A. Daniel
dad at POKERWIZ.COM
Thu Dec 11 18:52:15 UTC 2008
At the monastery the bell ringer dies. The abbot puts an ad in the paper for
a bell ringer. Next day, one candidate shows up and asks to see the abbot.
Abbot looks at him and says, "But you have no arms. How do you ring the
bell?" Candidate says, "I'll show you". They go up to the bell tower. The
candidate starts running toward the bell and smashes into it with his face.
The most beautiful tones ever heard emanate from the bell and the abbot
hires him on the spot. Over the next few weeks the people of the parish are
treated to the most beautiful bell music they have ever heard. Then, one
day, the bell ringer runs toward the bell, misses, and goes flying over the
buttresses into the square below. A crowd gathers. A woman says, "Who is
that?" A man in the crowd says, "I don't know, but his face sure rings a
So the monastery needs another bell ringer and the abbot puts another ad in
the paper. The next day, an armless man shows up who looks just like the
deceased. The abbot, aghast, says, "But, but... how?" "Ah, says the new
candidate. Your former bell ringer was my twin brother and we have the same
talent. So the abbot hires him and, once again, the people of the parish are
treated to the most beautiful bell music ever. Then, one day, the new bell
ringer runs toward the bell, misses, and goes flying over the buttresses
into the square below. A crowd gathers. A woman says, "Who is that?" A man
in the crowd says, "I don't know, but he's a dead ringer for the other guy."
The man who always waves the flag often waives what it stands for.
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Sent: Thursday, December 11, 2008 1:51 AM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
One phrase I have heard is 'dead ringer' meaning that
something - or someone - was exactly like the other one.
"She was a "dead ringer" for Palin" (meaning Fey)
In another example, a mistake is deliberately made to see if
anyone is paying attention. A place where I once worked
routinely put additional inexpensive items in a random
customers order to test for #1 attention to details and #2
for honesty. The explantion was that they had "threw a
ringer in to see if anyone would catch it. "
Can anyone help me understand the meaning and derivation of
below? (And is it in the OED?)
About a series of email messages on an odd question but one
caught the fancy of several persons, person A wrote
>This is like the best of those great weird ringers in old
>issues of 'Notes & Queries.'
I asked what "ringer" meant, wondering about the game of
>The real answer is that I'm probably misusing it, but I
>associate it with pub trivia contests in which nobody knows
>answer, and in the silence the announcer says, "Okay, that
>was a ringer."
So I now wonder, does "ringer" mean "A question [e.g., query
_Notes and Queries_] that is extremely esoteric and perhaps
achieve no answer"?
American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
More information about the Ads-l