Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bell n.1

1. the penis.

[UK]Passionate Morrice (1876) 54: He [...] of a coye queane, was pleased by her, with wagging his bawble and ringing his bell, while she pickt his pocket.

2. o’clock, usu. in pl., e.g. eight bells, eight o’clock [naut. use; a bell was struck to indicate the change in the day’s watches].

[UK]J. Wetherell Adventures of John Wetherell (1954) 22–30 Dec. 85: By this time it was near Six bells in the Aftenoon.
[UK]‘A. Burton’ Adventures of Johnny Newcome II 69: He kept them till ‘one bell’.
[US]J.F. Cooper Pilot (1824) III 216: We can [...] get a supply of fuel before eight bells are struck.
[UK]Quid 164: At two bells they would steal along the waist to the cook’s galley.
[UK] ‘Nights At Sea’ in Bentley’s Misc. Mar. 270: Hark! It is four bells.
[US]W.E. Burton Waggeries and Vagaries 14: Jest at eight bells, up ruz the gall, stark naked.
[US]Melville Moby Dick (1907) 150: Eight bells there! d’ye hear, bell-boy? Strike the bell eight, thou Pip!
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor IV 415/2: Give – a – copper – to – a – poor – sailor – as – hasn’t – spliced – the – main – jaw – since – the – day – ’fore – yesterday – at – eight – bells.
[US]G.E. Clark Seven Years of a Sailor’s Life 103: Say, old fellow, how many bells is it?
[US]F.H. Sheppard Love Afloat 182: They come off about two bells, purty dirty with the powder and grease.
[UK]Henley & Stevenson Admiral Guinea I vii: To-night, about three bells in the middle watch, old Pew will take a little cruise.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 May 23/4: The word ‘lime-juicer’ […] was the nick-name given to English seamen by American sailors before the latter were compelled (as the English were) to drink their fill of lime-juice daily at eight bells.
[US] ‘Get Up, Jack! John, Sit Down!’ in Lomax & Lomax Amer. Ballads and Folk Songs (1934) 494: In some rum-shop they’ll let him stop, / At eight bells he’s turned out.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 16 Feb. 305: So by five bells next forenoon he was ready for action.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 113: I’ll take no chances and set the alarm for three bells.
[US]S. Lewis Our Mr Wrenn (1936) 55: Though it was so late as eight bells of the evening.
[US]G. Bowerman diary 16 Aug. in Carnes Compensations of War (1983) 10: I [...] can now yell out ‘four bells’ with the best of ’em.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 146: I been trying to get into this darned little hammock ever since eight bells!
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Bloodhounds of Broadway’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 89: One morning along about four bells.
[US]M. Constiner ‘The Turkey Buzzard Blues’ in Ruhm Hard-Boiled Detective (1977) 309: Waiting for eight bells. At eight, we’re going to nail your father’s murderer.
[UK]D. Bolster Roll On My Twelve 21: ’E was jus’ goin’ up to the flag deck with a cup o’ cocoa at five bells.
[US]L.F. Cooley Run For Home (1959) 82: Nine bells—and all’s well.
[US]Mad mag. Apr. 36: It means slipping the bed before two bells.
[US](con. 1930s) R. Wright Lawd Today 192: ‘It’s near eleven bells,’ said Al.
[US]T. Alibrandi Killshot 67: I’ll meet you in conference room six at ten bells.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 1: bells – o’clock. I have my Chem exam at eight bells tomorrow.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 111: I’m here, matey. Eleven bells, you said. Bin here since five this morning.
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 167: — What time is it? Alistair looks up at the clock tower. — Three bells nearly.

3. (US black) the clitoris.

[US]Lil Johnson ‘Press My Button, Ring My Bell’ [lyrics] I said, ‘Give it to me, baby, you don’t understand, / Where to put that thing, where to put that thing, / Just press my button, give my bell a ring’.

4. (US black) personal notoriety, reputation [the image of a bell around a cat’s neck, announcing its imminent arrival].

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 7: bell notoriety connected to one’s name.

5. (US) a hotel doorman; a bellboy [? abbr. bell captain].

[US]G.V. Higgins Digger’s Game (1981) 26: Three K, promo [...] tips for the bells.

6. (UK Black) a bullet.

67 ‘Dead Up’ [lyrics] Them man soon go dead up / Ten fat bells in the mac.

7. see bell end n.

8. see button n.1 (1c)

In compounds

bell end (n.)

see separate entry.

bell shiner (n.) [bell end n. (1) + SE shine]

homosexual anal intercourse.

Probert Encyc. [Internet] Bell shiner is slang for homosexual anal intercourse.
bell topped (adj.) [bell end n. (1) + SE topped]

describing a penis that is larger at the top than it is at the base.

[UK]C. Deveureux Venus in India I 35: Ah! oh! what a beauty! How handsome! bell topped! and so big!

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

beller (n.) [it ‘rings out’]

(US) a loud laugh.

[US]T. Thackrey Thief 223: He laughed like a fool, a great booming beller you could hear all over the bar.
belling (n.) [the shape of a bell]

the head of the penis.

[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) IV 720: How randy I was as I felt my belling pressing against those two stupendous globes.

In compounds

bell cow (n.)

see separate entry.

bellhop (n.) (also bellhopper) [they ‘hop to it’ when the desk clerk rings the bell]

(US) a hotel doorman, a bell-boy.

[US]Democrat & Chron. (Rochester, NY) 10 Apr. 4/2: You don’t understand it, and neither does any one in the hotel from the proprietor down to the bell hopper.
Saint Paul Globe (MN) 22 July 3/3: The game of base ball [...] between the bell-hops of the Lafayette and the Lake Park and the waiters of the Lafayette was the livesliest affair of the season.
[US]Salt Lake Herald (UT) 30 Jan. 5/1: Henry Coffman was formerly a bell hopper in a Cincinnati hotel.
[US]Ade More Fables in Sl. (1960) 98: The Bell-hopper [...] asked him if he cared to Sit in a Quiet Game.
[US]Spokane Press (WA) 28 July 2/1: The corkscrew [...] reclining supinely in the bell hop’s pocket.
[US]R. Lardner You Know Me Al (1984) 67: I am a bellhop and the big rube with me is nothing but a pitcher.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Hurry Kane’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 97: A bellhop bounced in and told them the danger was over.
[US]C. McKay Gingertown 35: They had met at a big chamber-maids’ and bell-hops’ ball in Harlem.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 149: He’d been working as a bellhop in the Claridge Hotel in St. Louis.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Men from the Boys (1967) 10: Kenny, the bellhop, took another fifteen cents besides his tips.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 98: The [...] bell hops on this fast track are better pimps than the best in the hinterland.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 74: I followed a bellhop, with my bags.
[US] in J. Breslin Damon Runyon (1992) 128: A bellhop came running in to announce that there was trouble at the Shelton Hotel.
[UK]Guardian Guide 11–17 Sept. 8: The only person who recognises him is the black bell-hop.
bell-ringer (n.) [the fairground attraction in which one proves one’s strength by hammering on a spring and, if successful, ringing a bell]

(US) a great success; thus bell-ringing adj.

[US]Cab Calloway ‘I Love to Sing’ [lyrics] The swingin’est, / Hot singin’est, / Bell-ringin’est, / Song singin’est / High tootin’est, / Sky tootin’est, / I love to sing!
[US]L. Pound ‘Guide to Variety’ AS XV:2 204: bell-ringer. A decided success.
bell rope (n.)

1. a fashionable hairstyle in which men wore their hair twisted into two ropes, on each side of the face [pun, such a hairstyle is designed to ‘draw the belles’].

[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.

2. (US) the penis [it gets ‘pulled’].

Green & Peckinpah Wild Bunch [film script] While you did the planning me and Tector was getting our bell rope pulled by two, two, mind you, Hondo whores!
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
bell-topper (n.) [topper n.3 (2)]

(Aus./N.Z.) a top hat.

Cardiff & Merthyr Guardian 29 Dec. 4/3: Letter from Australia [...] The hat, or bell-toppers as they are styled here, is gradually superseding the straw hat [...] although at the diggings [...] they are at a discount, for a digger would would be as strictly in keeping with a tall, shiny bell-topper as a sailor would be with top-boots.
Nelson Examiner and N.Z. Chronicle 14 Feb. 3/1: He had no ‘belltopper’ in his hand, and no ‘claw-hammer’ on his back; and the coat he had on was most injudiciously buttoned up.
[Aus]‘A. Pendragon’ Queen of the South 4: Suppose I twigg some soogie swell in a coat and bell-topper, d’ye think I owns him for my betters? No such thing, I joes him.
[Aus]W. Kelly Life in Victoria 268: [footnote] Bell-topper was the derisive name given by diggers to old style hat, supposed to indicate the dandy swell.
Bell’s Life in Victoria 3 Sept. 3/6: Try a bell-topper amongst the gum trees, and see how long your head and it will keep company. [...] A cap in Victoria is as correct as the swell tile in the fast counties.
[NZ]Grey River Argus (NZ) 31 Aug. 2/6: Yer remember, Mister Heditur, wen the Guvernur comed to Greymouth, that Heepeesee made hisself werry forrard in making arrangements, and wos orful big with his new belltopper and patentlethers.
[Aus]S. James Vagabond Papers (3rd series) 44: They all wear bell-toppers.
[NZ]N.Z. Observer (Auckland) 18 Sept. 4: The passage being narrow, a large proportion either trod on my favourite corn or kicked my belltopper.
[UK]W. Newton Secrets of Tramp Life Revealed 6: This man wore a clerical suit, with black hat, &c., or ‘Bell topper’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Nov. 7/1: In pursuit of this resolution they start out in their long-tailed coats and belltoppers and blow a man’s head off in a boat while drifting down a dark and dirst river at midnight’s solemn hour.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 26 July 6/2: He was a tip-top swell, a real smock-dozzler [...] He wore a patent shut-up bell-topper.
[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 13: BELLTOPPER: high silk hats of any kind – no doubt so called from the old style of silk hat which broadened out at the crown – bell-wise.
[Aus]J. Furphy Such is Life 27: One o’ the compartments made distinctly o’ purpose to hold his bell-topper!
[Aus]E. Dyson ‘The Truculent Boy’ in Benno and Some of the Push 57: His battered bell-topper floated in the lye tub below.
[UK]Lawrence & Skinner Boy in Bush 57: Ever wear a bell-topper?
H. Sauer Ex Africa 1: Kok saw Wellppener leaving the Dutch church [...] wearing his beltopper.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 43: We grew beards to appear older and look the part, and wore frock coats and belltoppers.
bell-wether (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

belled up (adj.)

in possession of a burglar alarm.

[UK]G.F. Newman You Flash Bastard 34: ‘What about next door?’ ‘Belled up?’ ‘How well?’ ‘A men’s outfitters.’ ‘Don’t s’pose there’s an alarm on the basement anyway.’.
bells and whistles (n.)

(orig. US) embellishments, gimmicks, esp. used in advertising copy to ‘talk up’ a product that, bereft of such add-ons, would have little to offer over its peers.

Byte July 122/2: This simple circuit...even has a few outputs that can be used to provide user defined functions, such as enabling external devices or turning on bells and whistles.
[UK]Sun. Times (London) 26 Aug. 49/1: There are more than 600 microsystems on the market so it is hardly surprising that the manufacturers have taken to hanging a few bells and whistles on to their machines to get them noticed.
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. [Internet] Burton (gone for a.... ) v. I heard a woman on PBS’s Face The Nation discussing slang [...] she said that it came from a suit called a Montague which has three pieces and all the bells and whistles.
[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 139: [of a pistol] Doesn’t have to be high style [...] Don’t worry about the bells and whistles.
[US]S. King Finders Keepers (2016) 310: It’s just a cheapie, not the iphone with the all the bells and whistles she desires.
bell the cat (v.)

see separate entry.

crack a bell (v.) [the belief that it is necessary to remain silent while casting a bell; the slightest sound may produce a flaw]

to tell a secret, to betray a confidence.

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 96/2: Crack the bell (People’s). [...] to reveal a secret unintentionally.
crack the bell (v.) [a cracked bell is useless as it cannot ring]

to muddle, to ruin, to blunder.

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 96/2: Crack the bell (People’s). To produce failure by speech; or even act [...] to muddle.
from the bell (adv.) [boxing imagery, a bell sounds the beginning of a new round]

(orig. US) from the beginning.

[US]D. Goines Never Die Alone 15: You owe me six hunded big ones from the bell.
give someone a bell (v.)

to call on the telephone.

[US]C.G. Booth ‘Stag Party’ in Penzler Pulp Fiction (2006) 107: You can give the hospital a bell in ten minutes.
[US]J.H. O’Hara Pal Joey 109: Carl Kress and Manny Klein go right thru town and never give me a bell.
[US]S.J. Perelman letter 6 Aug. in Crowther Don’t Tread on Me (1987) 109: I’ll give you a bell when I get into town.
[UK]G.F. Newman You Flash Bastard 231: His man said he’d like to hear from you [...] Reckon it might be worth giving him a bell.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Healthy Competition’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] His dad gave me a bell last week.
[UK]C. Newland Scholar 121: You got me moby number, so gimme a bell dis week, yeah?
[UK]J. Baker Walking With Ghosts (2000) 60: I’ll give Marie and J.D. a bell.
D. Shaw ‘Dead Beard’ at www.asstr.org [Internet] You need a Roller or a Jag or a BMW, you give Harry boy a bell and I’ll fix you up chicken and rice, stand on me.
[UK]D.S. Mitchell Killer Tune (2008) 44: Give me a bell asap.
hop bells (v.) [backf. f. bellhop ]

(US) to work as a hotel porter.

Democrat & Chron. (Rochester, NY) 29 Dec. 5/8: The bell boys also receive but comparatively small wages, but the tips that result from ‘hopping bells’ are frequent.
[US]L.A. Times 3 June 14/4: ‘What does he do?’ [...] ‘Hops bells at the Van Nuys’.
[US]Leavenworth Times (KS) 9 Apr. 6/5: He has been keeping in training by ‘hopping bells’ at the Baltimore Hotel.
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 29 Dec. [synd. col.] An Oxford man, in temporary ill luck, was discovered ‘hopping bells’ in a large hotel.
Kingsport Times (TN) 27 Aug. 6/8: Bell Hop Now a Financier; Came into a Fortune [...] Ray D. Cremona, who was hopping bells at a hotel here last spring, today occupied the hostelry’s royal suite.
[US]Akron Beacon Jrnl (OH) 7 May 12/8: At least a score of girls are now hppping bells at local inns, replacing the little jockeys who set down the bags, opened the windows and then opened those tickling palms.
[US]J. Thompson Swell-Looking Babe 20: Almost four years of college under his belt, and he ends up hopping bells.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 71: I’ve juggled trays in New York cafes, hopped bells in hotels in Chi.
knock seven bells out of (v.) (also knock eight bells out of, . . . ten bells out of)

to beat viciously.

[UK]Examiner (London) 16 Feb. 13/1: The captain wanted [...] the malcontents to stand before him and he’d knock seven bells out of them.
[UK]Wrexham Advertiser 8 Jan. 8/3: He said he would ‘knock seven bells’ out of the prosecutor.
[UK]M. Roberts Western Avernus (1924) 149: Get up, or I’ll knock seven bells out of you.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 1July 5/4: Jimmy, the half-caste [...] picked a quarrel with me one night at mother Breen’s. I knocked seven bells out of him.
[UK]Manchester Courier 3 Mar. 14/3: When he squared off before it again [...] he meant to knock seven bells out of something.
[Aus]T. Wood Cobbers 233: ‘I get that pelican!’ he say ‘I knock seven bells out of him!’.
[UK]Derby Dly Teleg. 25 Feb. 3/2: Doing their best to knock seven bells out of the enemy.
[UK]A. Close Official and Doubtful 342: Last time I saw Cal he was knocking eight bells out of him. And getting as good as he gave.
[US]T. Black Ringer [ebook] n.p.: I’m seriously contemplating knocking ten bells out of it for this performance.
on the bell

1. on credit.

[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Tom and Jerry III iii: Aye, aye! – lend us a tanner on the bell, vill you? [...] Verry vell, two pound, vith a pickled cowcumber, and a pen’orth o’ketchup, to make some gravy of; and stick it up to the bell! – d’ye hear?

2. (Scot.) buying (a round of drinks).

[UK]M. Munro Patter 10: If it’s your round in the pub you are said to be on the bell.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 63: Make that a large Grouse Les, seeing as this English cunt’s on the bell.
ring a bell (v.)

to remind one of something, to jog one’s memory.

N. Monsarrat This is Schoolroom (2000) 215: The things we talked about meant nothing to them: they rang no bell .
M. Allingham Coroner’s Pidgin 203: That’s where I saw the name, then [...] It rang only a very faint bell.
[UK]A. Buckeridge Jennings Goes To School 55: Something about it rang a bell in Jennings’ brain.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 15: Does it ring a bell with you?
[UK]A. Bennett Habeus Corpus Act I: Does the name Rumpers ring a bell?
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Go West Young Man’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Doesn’t ring a bell, sorry.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 204: ‘Smut’ buzzed him – little eye flickers. Bud said, ‘Ring a bell?’.
[UK]R. Barnard No Place of Safety 144: Doesn’t ring a bell. What’s her Christian name?
[UK]Guardian Rev. 21 Apr. 20: This description might well ring a bell with some straightahead jazz listeners.
ring someone’s bell (v.)

1. to make a woman orgasm during intercourse.

[US]‘Mae West in “The Hip Flipper”’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 94: Lotta rode that bowel ravager like a rabbit and Schnozzola again rang the bell.
[US]Lil Johnson ‘Press My Button (Ring My Bell)’ [lyrics] And I’ll have that thing, / That thing-a-ling, / Just press my button, give my bell a ring.

2. to make a woman pregnant.

[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.

3. to appeal to, to impress, to carry any weight with.

[US](con. 1967) E. Spencer Welcome to Vietnam (1989) 3: I needed to have my bell rung early so that I could get on with life.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Culture 25 July 9: I’ve seen a Nike ad I really like. It’s pushed my buttons [...] rung my bell, all that.

4. (US, also blow someone’s horn) to attract sexually, e.g. She really rings my bell.

[UK](con. 1930s) D. Wells Night People 65: She told me to go by and see her girl friend [...] So I dropped by her pad and blew her horn [...] I mean, rang her bell.
[US](con. 1940s) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 195: ‘Don’t think I can’t ring your bell, buddy,’ she added aggressively.

5. (orig. US, also ring someone’s hat) to concuss, esp. in US football use when this may well follow a clash of helmets.

[US]D. Jenkins Semi-Tough 179: Dreamer rang my hat when he busted me, all right.
[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 56: bell, get one’s — rungv phr Be hit hard enough to be dazed, stunned, or knocked unconscious (usually said of football players).
[US]F.X. Toole Pound for Pound 129: Farrell knocked him down again [...] hard enough to ring his bell.
ring the bell (v.) [the ‘try-your-strength’ machine found at a trad. fairground]

to carry off the prize; to be the best of a lot; to be acquitted.

[UK]J. Buchan Greenmantle (1930) 293: I’ve no contribution to make to quieting Sir Walter Bullivant’s mind, except that he’s dead right. Yes, Sir, he has hit the spot and rung the bell.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson Shearer’s Colt 29: I hadn’t hardly rung the bell at this here racing before I got pinched.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 179/1: Ring the bell. To succeed handsomely. ‘We sure rang the bell on that touch (robbery).’.
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 122: Listen to this story I dreamed up – and I know it can ring the bell money-wise.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 121: Ring the bell – to obtain an acquittal.
ring the bell on (v.) (also ring the tinkler on) [boxing imagery]

(US) to dismiss, to declare useless.

[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ Out for the Coin 75: Aw, say, Foxy Gran’, ring de tinkler on yourself!
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day By Day 6 Oct. [synd. col.] Simmons walked over and broke Mr Kinsley’s hat, remarking: ‘They rang the bell on straw lids, mister’.
[US]B. Schulberg What Makes Sammy Run? (1992) 6: That spiel really rings the bell on my old man.
saved by the bell (adj.) [boxing imagery; a bell sounds at the end of a round]

(US) rescued or relieved at the last minute.

[US]S.F. Chronicle 1 June H5/7: When it comes down to brass tacks the most polished orator will lapse into ‘saved by the bell,’ [etc.].
[UK]A. Sillitoe ‘Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner’ in Loneliness of Long-Distance Runner (1960) 31: ‘Ain’t it next door to a pub, then?’ I wanted to know. He answered me sharp: ‘No, it bloody well aint.’... ‘Then I don’t know it,’ I told him, saved by the bell.
[UK]K. Waterhouse Soho 7: A masochistic cocktail waitress trying unsuccessfully to get herself murdered for kicks, being saved by the bell when her hired would-be killer falls in love with her.
scare seven bells out of (v.)

to terrify.

Bleiler & Dikty Best Science Fiction Stories 326: We’ll fly over their double-despicable city again and scare seven bells out of them.
toll the bell on (v.) [the church bell that tolls the death-knell]

to put an end to, to forbid.

[UK]A. Binstead Mop Fair 34: She would probably [...] have tolled the bell on the whole proceeding.
with bells on [? the bells that adorned a jester’s outfit or the practice in the Old West of outfitting the lead animals of a freight-hauling team with bells, to announce their presence and thus minimize accidents]

1. in a joyous mood, enthusiastic.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 89: I had enough to get back here with bells on inside of a couple of months.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 28: Dear old Noo York! Well, we’re gettin’ back with bells on!
[Aus]E. Curry Hysterical Hist. of Aus. 110: Lefty Buggins thanks im an orl that fer is nise invertashun an ses ribuck ole pal Ile cum wiv bels on.
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 334: See you soon – with bells on! Here we come!!

2. (US, also with bells) definitely, without doubt; as a negative retort.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 88: Lewis F. Byington was in line ‘with bells’.
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 111: As for settling now, I’ll be there with bells on Sat’day, sure.
[US] in K.F. Cowing Dear Folks at Home (1919) 76: When this is all over, I will be home with bells on.
[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 247: Nate says it’s all fun and shuts me up, telling the press agent we’ll be there with bells on.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 91: I have only gotta go for her an’ I am right in the front row with bells on.
[US]J.M. Cain Mildred Pierce (1985) 410: I’ll be here Thursday. With bells.
[UK](con. 1943) A. Myrer Big War 200: Grade A jackass. With bells ...
[UK](con. 1940s) D. MacCuish Do Not Go Gentle (1962) 337: ‘But, Sarge I itch!’ ‘You itch with bells on. God damn it, I said don’t move!’.
[UK]Wodehouse Much Obliged, Jeeves 47: ‘You mean Florence is here as well?’ ‘With bells on. You seem perturbed.’.
[US]C. Hiaasen Tourist Season (1987) 325: If the bastard really had been alive, Keyes thought, he would have shown up. With bells on.
[US]P. Cornwell Point of Origin (1999) 165: I’ll be there with bells on.
[US]C. Cook ‘A Tinkling Cymbal’ in Screen Door Jesus 99: ‘Be here with bells on,’ he said. ‘I’m unstressing.’.

3. (also with spangles) with melodramatic, lurid and otherwise exciting embellishments.

[US]H. Ellison Rockabilly (1963) 50: This is it, baby, it with spangles!
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 219: We arrive with bells on – sirens, lights, the works.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 392: I think we can start a separate category for ‘you’re very welcomes’. It’s, like, ‘you’re welcome’ with bells on, isn’t it?