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Vocabulary Oddities and Errors

In talking or writing about bells, there are a few frequently-encountered words that are at least strange, if not outright wrong.  This page explains those words, which are NOT used on this Website.  (For the bell-related vocabulary that IS used on this Website, see our Glossary.)

Vocabulary Oddities

"The chimes" is one of those peculiar terms in the English language that is a plural form which is used as if it were singular, and for which there is actually no singular form.  For example, one might hear or see the sentence, "The chimes pealed out from the tower."  Obviously this refers to a set of bells; but a bell is not a chime!  So we do not use this word in this sense.
Instead, we use "chime" in the senses defined in our Glossary (see link above).

The word campanologist, which by definition means a person who studies bells, also has a rather odd usage in England, where some change ringers claim it for themselves in spite of the fact that their expertise with respect to bells is actually very narrow.  Widely known campanologists include Percival Price (1901-1985) and André Lehr (1929-2007).

Vocabulary Errors

All too often, one hears or reads the assertion that a bell was forged.  That is a major error, because the metal-working processes of forging and casting are utterly different.  Forging is the process of heating a piece of metal (most commonly iron-based) until it is red hot and then hammering it into a new shape before it cools.  The work of a blacksmith consists of forging artifacts of many kinds; but that does not include bells, because it is impossible to produce the perfectly circular shape of a bell by this method.  Instead, bells are cast by melting an appropriate mix of metals in a furnace and then pouring that melted metal into a mold, where it solidifies into the desired shape as it cools.  Casting is typically done is a foundry, which is defined in our Glossary (see link above).


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This page was created 2021/03/04.

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