Definition of television in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtɛlɪvɪʒ(ə)n/
Pronunciation: /tɛlɪˈvɪʒ(ə)n/


1 [mass noun] A system for converting visual images (with sound) into electrical signals, transmitting them by radio or other means, and displaying them electronically on a screen: the days before television [as modifier]: a television camera
More example sentences
  • Method of transmitting radio and television signals that promises better-quality picture and sound, and a wider choice of channels.
  • By analogy, that term came to be applied to transmitting radio or television signals over a wide area.
  • Analog closed circuit television systems require that video tapes be changed daily or at least every other day.
1.1The activity, profession, or medium of broadcasting on television: she has a job in television [as modifier]: television news
More example sentences
  • Our news columns and television broadcasts fail consistently to reflect this diversity.
  • Audiences for broadcast television news are suffering a downward flutter.
  • The same could be said of the rapid response medium of television news - viewers are now used to seeing human destruction as it happens.
1.2Television programmes: Dan was sitting on the settee watching television Norman was on television yesterday
More example sentences
  • I'm not cut out to spend evenings on the sofa watching television and going to bed early.
  • Most television, particularly network programs, has gone from vast wasteland to empty universe.
  • I thought very little of it as I got out of the bath, as I wrapped myself in dressing gown, as I walked through the house and lay down on the sofa to watch television.
2 (also television set) A device with a screen for receiving television signals: a colour television she turned the television up
More example sentences
  • They have made provision by buying big screen televisions for spectators.
  • The race will be shown on big screens and televisions around the grounds.
  • At the moment, flat screen televisions are still the sort of thing that only corporate money can buy.
TV, television set
informal small screen
British informal telly, the box, the gogglebox
North American informal the tube, the boob tube, the idiot box


Early 20th century: from tele- 'at a distance' + vision.

  • Television was first demonstrated in 1926 by the Scottish inventor John Logie Baird, but the word was thought up before the design was perfected, in 1907. The first part of television means ‘at a distance’, and comes ultimately from Greek tēle ‘far off’. The second part goes back to Latin videre ‘to see’. C. P. Scott, a journalist and editor of the Manchester Guardian from 1872 to 1929, was unhappy about the formation, and perhaps about the invention: ‘Television? The word is half Greek, half Latin. No good can come of it.’ It was first shortened to TV just after the Second World War.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: tele|vi¦sion

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