One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An alarm bell or signal.‘he used his resignation as a tocsin to warn of the danger of dictatorship’
ringing, chime, carillon, toll, tolling, peal, knellView synonyms
- ‘And while tocsins sounded all over Paris, the dead were carted through the Saint-Antoine district, accompanied by witnesses to the massacre shouting ‘Vengeance!’’
- ‘They feature oscillating messages hinting at items up for bid and close with a tocsin in receding text: ‘Going, Going, Gone.’’
- ‘Some, whether religious or liberal-humanist, have sounded the tocsin so loudly that many governments have enacted or revived laws which penalise the vilification of religion, especially Islam.’
- ‘It is built around the word that rings like a tocsin repeatedly through the piece: materialism.’
- ‘The ringing of the tocsin, notoriously the call to insurrection since the memorable journées of 1789, marked the seizure of power in the small hours of the tenth by the central committee of the sections.’
Late 16th century: from Old French toquassen, from Provençal tocasenh, from tocar ‘to touch’ + senh ‘signal bell’.
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