We can sure that as long as shock films ring up a merry tune on the cash registers, producers will not desist from making them.

What does the ring up a merry tune exactly mean?

I know about the Ring up, merry, and tune.Thanks

  • What exactly do you know about ring up? (It can be used in a few different ways, and, in the quote you cite, I'd say it's playing off a couple different meanings.)
    – J.R.
    Dec 31, 2015 at 20:46
  • @J.R. As much as that can be read on the hyperlink tagged in the above sentence.
    – Cardinal
    Dec 31, 2015 at 21:05
  • 1
    Cardinal: Yes, I clicked on the link, and that's why I asked my question. In any event, Era's answer pretty much addresses the issue this time around, but my comment was meant to be a helpful hint for your next question. The links are commendable – they show you did your research, and that's what we ask. But you could improve things even more by taking a guess at which meaning might apply, and including that information in your question as well. Anyway, it's a great pun, and I'm glad you asked about it on ELL.
    – J.R.
    Dec 31, 2015 at 21:12
  • @J.R. Ah I see, I was not sure about the exact meaning of the combination of those three phrases. there were a lot of possibilities that motivated me to ask the question. although I had understood what the author is trying to convey, but I was curious to know the perfect definition. In general, I have a problem in understanding peoples' intents, regardless of which language they speak.
    – Cardinal
    Jan 1, 2016 at 6:44
  • We can sure that as long as shock films make profit , producers...
    – user13267
    Jan 1, 2016 at 11:02

2 Answers 2


The "merry tune" is the sound of a cash register being operated (i.e. "cha-ching!"). This sound is "music to the ears" of producers since it is the sound of their film making money. There are two layers of figurative speech here, since not only is the sound not literally a tune, it's also not literally the sound at all that producers are happy about. The literal meaning of "ringing up a merry tune on the cash registers" is "making profits". The figurative phrase could be used even for industries that don't use cash registers at all, since it's such a common metaphor. For example, someone might say "cha-ching!" when their investment gains value, even though that has nothing to do with cash registers.

As FumbleFingers mentioned, the phrase "ring up" referring to the use of a cash register also comes from that same ringing noise which old fashioned registers make when making a sale. The original cash register was designed to prevent theft by cashiers, and the bell rang every time the register was opened so that a manager would notice and could see whether a sale was actually taking place. (see the Wikipedia article.) The distinctive sound of a cash register's bell now evokes the idea of profits (especially retail sales).

  • 2
    My first thought was you've pretty much covered all the allusions here. But then it occurred to me a non-native speaker might have trouble figuring out why it's ring up the merry tune. You've made such a good start; maybe it's worth editing in something about that bit too. Dec 31, 2015 at 19:22
  • @FumbleFingers, and Era, Thank you guys, you are awesome
    – Cardinal
    Dec 31, 2015 at 19:49

"Merry tune" is the happy song that would imply people are making money from those films. "Ring up" is in reference to someone processing a sale through the cash register.

If one wanted to be more literal, this would be an edit for it:

We can sure that as long as shock films produce profits, producers will not desist from making them.

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