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phone tree Syllabification: phone tree

Entry from US English dictionary

Definition of phone tree in English:


1A menu-driven system that routes callers to recordings, more menus, or a person, depending on their responses: users had to navigate an elaborate phone tree before reaching a counselor
More example sentences
  • I was on the Prince sponsorship package, which meant that I could call their headquarters in New Jersey, fight my way through a tangled phone tree and demand to speak to someone in the "Elite Athlete" division.
  • More often, I got to the end of a long phone tree and an hour of hold music only to be told to take it up with the government.
  • Technology has given us all those great voicemail phone trees that more often prevent us from resolving problems that would take only a couple of minutes if we could actually speak with a person in charge directly.
2A system for contacting a large number of people quickly in which each person called then telephones a number of other designated people.
Example sentences
  • City officials have established a flood warning website and "phone trees" to get word out of any coming disaster.
  • Local officials and loyal customers formed a phone tree to get in touch with employees and season-ticket holders, and then many of them decided to fill in as workers for no pay.
  • The bureau has put together phone trees for contacting staff if the office is inaccessible.

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