new year celebration with clock fireworks and champagne glasses

Let’s Ring In the New Year

Welcome to another edition of English Makes No Sense, the podcast where we have fun with the English language, one lesson at a time. My name is SL Rockfish, but you can call me Sarah. Today we are going to ring in the New Year with idioms and sayings that have the word RING in them. Well at least somewhere in them.

But wait, I know what you might be thinking, “Um Sarah, it is well past the new year.” In fact we celebrated the new year last week. I know, however, the new year is only a little over a week old, so we are still able to ring it in.

Anyway, it’s my topic and I thought it worked out well so let’s begin. Here are the idioms we are going to be taking a closer look at today.

The first is “Give a ring.”

More precisely, to give someone a ring. This idiom has nothing to do with buying someone a ring. No, no my friends this idiom “Give someone a ring’ is used to mean, give someone a call. Wait, what?

Yes, let me put it in context, “Hey Joe make sure to give me a ring when you get to the office.” Translation, Hey Joe, make sure to give me a call when you get to the office.

If someone asks you to give them a ring, they are asking you to give them a call. A phone call to be precise. Does anyone still call? Or do we all text and Zoom. I don’t know. I hope we still call on the phone.

The next idiom is, “to ring a bell.”

To ring a bell means to bring forth a memory or a vague recollection. It does not mean to actually ring a bell, be it a doorbell, a bell any kind of bell. To ring a bell is used to mean a vague recollection. For example, Hey Joe, you remember Jane from grade school? She sat behind you in English class? Jane Dobbs, does the name ring a bell? Does any of this ring a bell?” Translation, does this call to mind any memories?

Then Joe can say, “Oh yeah, Jane Dobbs! The name rings a bell, but I can’t remember what she looked like.”

Our next idiom is “to ring true.”

To ring true is to to seem to be believable or true. If something rings true it seems plausible to be true.

For example, “Bill’s story seems to ring true.” Bill ‘s story seems plausible or has a bit of truth to it.

On the flip side of ring true, is ring false. If something rings false, it means that it sounds like a lie or something that isn’t true. Say we don’t believe Bill, then we say his story rings false.

If something rings false it can also “ring hollow.”

To ring hollow means to sound implausible, not true or insincere. For example, let’s go back to poor Bill. Let’s say Bill’s telling a whopper of a tale. A whopper of a tale is a very exaggerated tale or story. Bill tells us a story and we don’t believe it, we can say, his story rings hollow.

Here’s another idiom with a ring in it and this one has nothing to do with truthfulness or sincerity.

This next idiom has to do with chaos and a lot of activity. What is it, you ask?

Our next idiom is, a three-ring circus.

If something is a three-ring circus it is chaotic.

It comes from the days of the literal three-ring circus of days gone by. Where and when there were three separate rings with acts going on at the same time.

Now we use the idiom three-ring circus to describe something as chaotic, with a lot of activity going on. But it can also mean something is getting out of control and becoming chaotic.

Let me use it both ways. Mrs. Jones’ classroom is often thought of as a three-ring circus, the students are always loud and moving about. “ Or the election is turning into a three-ring circus. The election is getting out of control and becoming chaotic. Nobody likes to be a part of a three-ring circus, do they?

I do sometimes, but that is for a later date.

And now for our final idiom, a dead ringer.

A dead -ringer? How does this go with the other idioms? Well, it has the word ring in it, so it is a perfect fit. And to be honest, this was the idiom that got me thinking of this topic, which led to this podcast so, tah-dah! Here we are, the idiom dead ringer. A dead ringer is another way to say someone or something looks like someone or something else.

For example, my grandson is a dead ringer for his mother when she was his age. Translation, my grandson looks just like his mother did at this age. Or when she was three she looked just like he doe now.

An animal can be a dead ringer. That puppy is a dead ringer for my puppy, I hope we don’t confuse them and take the wrong dog home. That puppy looks just like my puppy. Got it?

Let’s review:

  • Give a ring or Give someone a ring – means to call
  • Ring a bell – means to bring up a vague memory or recollection; to recall
  • Ring true – means to seem believable or sincere
  • Ring false – means to sound unbelievable; or insincere
  • Ring hollow – also means to sound false or insincere
  • Three-ring circus – means something that is chaotic, hectic and out of control
  • Dead ringer – someone or something that looks just like another

Whew! That is a lot of rings. See, I told you we were going to ring in the new year!

But before I go, let me put together a little verse, are you ready?

If something is false

It can ring hollow

But, It can also ring false

Do you follow?

If your story is sincere

Then it rings true

Stories can do both

What can you do?

If you need to talk

Then give me a ring

Is life too chaotic?

A Three-circus ring?

No, when there is chaos

It’s a three-ring circus

Oh, when that happens

It is hard to focus.

Last but not least

You know that singer?

My uncle is…

His dead ringer.

You know the one,

I know you can tell

Listen to his song

It will ring a bell!

Okay there you have it, a verse to ring in the new year and to help with these idiom that contain the word, ring.

Hope you all are having a great new year so far, and that you enjoyed this episode. If you would like to see long and short videos check out my YouTube Channel, English Makes No Sense. Or if short videos are your thing, then check me out on TikTok and Instagram @englishmakesnosense.

As always friends, do something fun, do something amazing, or do nothing at all, but whatever you do, have a great day! Peace friends!