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knell (noun) bell indicating death or funeral.
A bell rung slowly at the death of a person or at a funeral is a knell. Any indication of the end or the destruction of something is a knell. Sunset is the knell of the day. The invasion of the Roman empire by the barbarians sounded the knell of the Roman empire. That is, the end of the Roman empire began with the invasion by the Goths and Vandals.
- The knell of the British colonial rule was sounded by the independence of India. It began the shrinking of the empire, with colony after colony being freed from the British rule.
- 12 midnight, 31st December sounds the knell of the old year and the beginning of a new year. The old year ends that day making room for the new year.