Definition of telephone in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtɛlɪfəʊn/


[mass noun]
1A system for transmitting voices over a distance using wire or radio, by converting acoustic vibrations to electrical signals: [as modifier]: a telephone call
More example sentences
  • Information theory is a field of mathematics that scientists use to analyse strings of data, whether carried by DNA or radio waves or telephone wires.
  • Any changes of destination are notified ahead by telephone or radio so that arrival is anticipated.
  • Workers communicate by voice in meetings, in hall conversations, and by telephone.
1.1 [count noun] An instrument used as part of a telephone system, typically a single unit including a handset with a transmitting microphone and a set of numbered buttons by which a connection can be made to another such instrument: it was eight-thirty when the telephone rang, and I knew it was Chandler [as modifier]: a telephone receiver
More example sentences
  • Analysts use link analysis to understand better the telephone records of contacts between telephones, cellular phones, pagers, computers, and fax machines.
  • Paging mechanisms were created to activate sleeping mobile telephones to receive incoming calls.
  • He had been exposed to microwaves from cellular telephones and cordless telephones for several years.
handset, earpiece, receiver
phone, handset, receiver
informal blower
North American informal horn


[with object]
1Contact (someone) using the telephone: he telephoned his wife at 9.30
More example sentences
  • Activists ring doorbells and telephone voters in critical districts, urging supporters to get out the vote.
  • On a Friday evening before Easter the man's wife telephoned the doctor but he was out.
  • If all your questions haven't been answered after your allotted slot, ask if you can book another appointment to come in, or arrange to telephone the teacher at school.
phone, call, get someone on the phone, get on the phone to, get, reach, dial, make/place a call to;
British  ring up, ring, give someone a ring
informal call up, give someone a call, give someone a buzz, buzz
British informal give someone a bell, bell, give someone a tinkle, get on the blower to
North American informal get someone on the horn
1.1 [no object] Make a telephone call: she telephoned for help
More example sentences
  • I had telephoned for the ambulance and was looking out for it when I saw the policeman.
  • The man, who has not been named, was found unconscious in the Street after a woman telephoned for an ambulance but he was so badly injured that he could not be interviewed by detectives for three days.
  • A bereaved mother claims she was driven to the brink of suicide after an out-of-hours doctor fired questions at her about her daughter's tragic death when she telephoned for help.
1.2Send (a message) by telephone: Barbara had telephoned the news
More example sentences
  • The counter employee took messages, which were telephoned to the main telegraphy office in Manchester.
  • Traditionally, the results of emergency biochemistry and haematology requests have been telephoned by laboratory staff to the requesting clinician or ward area as soon as a specimen has been analysed.
  • However, the defendant's evidence was that she telephoned her ticket request to the Red Cross from the lottery shop with the knowledge and assent of her daughter, who owned the store.


on the telephone

1Using the telephone: I spent the afternoon on the telephone
More example sentences
  • It didn't stop Brian and myself spending half an hour discussing this issue this afternoon on the telephone.
  • He had just spent two hours on the telephone with the Bishop discussing various sections of the Bible in excruciatingly fine detail.
  • He had also spent several hours on the telephone to her the previous afternoon.
2British Connected to a telephone system: if they were not on the telephone, an officer had to deliver the message in person
More example sentences
  • 1 would write a letter to Mary that day (they were not on the telephone) expressing my concern about her and the current situation.
  • If the member is not on the telephone when joining the rota payment for installation will be made by the University.



Example sentences
  • While in the United States, he worked as a journalist, telemarketer, and market research telephoner.
  • That's why it's so important for telephoners to get together in person to talk about talking on the phone.
  • We are always recruiting telephoners so we can maintain and increase our telephone reassurance program.


Pronunciation: /tɛlɪˈfɒnɪk/
Example sentences
  • Interactive medication data systems and methods are provided which include automated means for providing information pursuant to telephonic and electronic requests from callers.
  • The act allows only trained traditional leaders to operate initiation schools, and has established 13 special telephonic call centres across the province to allow parents and initiates to immediately report any abuses or concerns.
  • I am supposedly the expert in communications, radio and telephonic navigation aids, meteorological systems and also on airport ground lighting.


Pronunciation: /tɛlɪˈfɒnɪk(ə)li/
Example sentences
  • Viewers will be invited to do the hiring by voting for the contestant of their choice telephonically or via SMS during the live show.
  • Additionally, all quarter-finalists were tested on their telephone manners and their respective managers were contacted telephonically and interviewed about their personal assistants or secretaries.
  • Interviews are carried out telephonically utilising semi-structured questionnaires.


Mid 19th century: from tele- + -phone.

Words that rhyme with telephone


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tele|phone

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