bells and whistles

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wathavy

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, here is the quote in which 'bells and whistles' is used.
the founders and employees of these new companies will look for lower cost CAD software that can get the job done without the added expense of unnecessary bells and whistles.
But I found the dictionary explanation as follows.
Innovative and flashy, but often unnecessary and confusing, features of a product such as computer hardware or software. Originally referred to the ‘toy boxes' on theater organs of the silent-movie era.
Which, to me, indicates that the word 'unnecessary' is not necessary in the first paragraph, am I right?

Thank you for your attention.
Best Regards.
 
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Check the dictionary definition again:
    Innovative and flashy, but often unnecessary and confusing,

    Within this definition, some bells and whistles may be necessary in some situations.
    In that case, unnecessary in the first quoted paragraph is not redundant.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Thank you for your quick response.


    You meant the unnecessary was not necessary... and my assumption was confirmed, right?

    Thank you.
    No.
    According to the definition you quoted, bells and whistles are "Innovative and flashy, but often unnecessary and confusing".
    They are not always unnecessary.
    Sometimes, for some purposes they are necessary.

    So it is quite correct, and not redundant, to talk about "... unnecessary bells and whistles".
     

    wathavy

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you.

    So it depends on the context, would it be OK to understand in that manner?

    Sorry to ask you so many time, but it just stuck in my head..

    Thank you, again. :)

    Edit,
    So Bells and whistles includes both necessary and unnecessary stuff, is that you're proposing?
     
    Last edited:

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Can I add 'unnecessary' in this example, or does "bells and whistles" already cover it?

    "I need to get a cheap, simple car with no unnecessary bells and whistles"
     

    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    I would say you don’t need it here, since you state that you want a “cheap, simple car”. Any bells and whistles would therefore be unnecessary.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I see. And how about now?

    "I want to get a car with no unnecessary bells and whistles which cost a lot and you never use them"
     

    Tegs

    Mód ar líne
    English (Ireland)
    Seat warmers are a necessity for me too :D What‘s necessary or not can be subjective.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Keep in mind that to the product manufacturers they are not bells and whistles, they are features. Manufacturers try to add features to their products to satisfy their customers more or to distinguish their products from their competitors and gain new customers. Sometimes they try too hard and add things that are more gimmicky than useful, at least to most people.

    For the most part I think bells and whistles is most often used in a dismissive way. If you like it, it's a cool feature - if you don't, it's just one of the bells and whistles that came with the product which you bought for a different reason.

    When I bought my car a number of years ago I only learned it had Bluetooth when they handed me the keys and told me I was free to drive away. The sale was complete. I started the car and was looking around and noticed it for the first time. I've been very happy ever since. For someone without a smartphone (which many people didn't have at the time) it would have been a bell and/or whistle - in their case, a useless feature. But it would have been included for them, too, whether they set out to buy it or not.

    (More vaguely, this reminds me of an article I read a couple of days ago saying Coca Cola is going to discontinue about half of their brands. Because of low sales, they decided they aren't worth the effort to make and distribute anymore. These drinks are the bells and whistles of the Coke product line. They have a few adherents but not enough to attract additional buyers in the numbers to make including them worthwhile.)
     
    Last edited:
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