Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Games A horseshoe or quoit thrown so that it encircles the peg.
  • n. One that rings, especially one that sounds a bell or chime.
  • n. Slang A contestant entered dishonestly into a competition.
  • n. Slang One who bears a striking resemblance to another: a ringer for his father.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Someone who rings, especially a bell ringer.
  • n. In the game of horseshoes, the event of the horseshoe landing around the pole.
  • n. A game of marbles where players attempt to knock each other's marbles out of a ring drawn on the ground.
  • n. A horse fraudently entered in a race using the name of another horse.
  • n. A person highly proficient at a skill or sport who is brought in, often fraudulently, to supplement a team.
  • n. A person, animal, or entity which resembles another so closely as to be taken for the other; now usually in the phrase dead ringer.
  • n. A top performer.
  • n. The champion shearer of a shearing shed.
  • n. A stockman, a cowboy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One who, or that which, rings; especially, one who rings chimes on bells.
  • n. A crowbar.
  • n. A horse that is not entitled to take part in a race, but is fraudulently got into it.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In quoits, a throw by which the quoit is cast so as to encircle the pin.
  • n. One who rings; specifically, a bell-ringer.
  • n. Any apparatus for ringing chimes, or a bell of any kind.
  • n. In mining, a crowbar.
  • n. In athletics, one who competes in some way under deception, concealing his identity, ability, or standing.
  • n. In racing, a horse entered in a race with intent to deceive.
  • n. In sheep-shearing, one who rings or tops the score. See ring.
  • n. In general, one who excels others, as if able to run rings around his competitors and still keep ahead. See ring.
  • n. A supplementary enthusiastic cheer.
  • n. In telephony, an electric call-ben.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (horseshoes) the successful throw of a horseshoe or quoit so as to encircle a stake or peg
  • n. a person who rings church bells (as for summoning the congregation)
  • n. a person who is almost identical to another
  • n. a contestant entered in a competition under false pretenses

Etymologies

From ring (“to sound a bell”) +‎ -er. (Wiktionary)
From ring ("to surround"). (Wiktionary)
Probably from ring the changes. (Wiktionary)
Unknown. (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • In Australian shearer's slang, a ringer is the fastest shearer in the shed

    July 14, 2009

  • Someone who pushes up the price at auctions.

    December 24, 2008

  • A 'ringer' is a stolen car that has had its identification numbers replaced by a set from another - usually written-off - car, which effectively changes the car's identity.
    Guardian, 14/12/2005

    The OED has related senses of 'ringer'—"false numberplates" (1962) and "thief who fits false numberplates" (1970)—but not this sense referring to the car itself.

    So also 'car-ringing', the practice of creating ringers.

    August 13, 2008

  • Australian slang - the faster shearer in a particular shed.

    December 6, 2007