Definition of telegraph in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈteləˌɡraf/


1A system for transmitting messages from a distance along a wire, especially one creating signals by making and breaking an electrical connection: news came from the outside world by telegraph
More example sentences
  • Miraculously, even the telegraph wires along which Morse code messages once pulsed still dangle in the breeze.
  • The mathematical description of heat flow linked his work on thermodynamics, the cooling of the Earth and even the flow of electrical signals through telegraph wires.
  • On 11 May 1874 the residents of Callington celebrated the connection by telegraph with Adelaide.
1.1A device for transmitting messages by telegraph.
Example sentences
  • For those who don't know about Shannon, he was the father of information theory, which in its simplest form means he made possible the leap from telephones and telegraphs to computers.
  • In 1832, Baron Schilling, a Russian diplomat, linked the Summer Palace of the tsar in St Petersburg to the Winter Palace using a telegraph with rotating magnetized needles.
  • Nanotechnology, resulting in enormous life extension and space colonization, will do for the Solar System in the 21st century what steam engines and telegraphs did for Earth in the 19th.


[with object]
1Send (someone) a message by telegraph: I must go and telegraph Mom
More example sentences
  • He apologized for not telegraphing her because he was ‘constantly engaged day and night with the mob, [such] that I have not had a moment to write.’
  • He had telegraphed Washington in August 1968 asking if anyone in the American UN mission had a ‘close personal relationship’ with the man.
  • Next day I telegraphed my broker, urging him to purchase all controlling shares of the company.
1.1Send (a message) by telegraph: she would rush off to telegraph news to her magazine
More example sentences
  • But when such disputation is telegraphed to a wired world in real time, it can wreak havoc with U.S. diplomacy.
  • The PIC directed the removal of the power cords, which I acknowledged and telegraphed to the sergeant.
  • The Home Office has telegraphed to the police authorities intimating that a certain relaxation on the Lighting Regulation is permitted.
1.2Convey (an intentional or unconscious message), especially with facial expression or body language: a tiny movement of her arm telegraphed her intention to strike
More example sentences
  • He telegraphs a curious expression across the curious pseudo - restaurant that serves as the canteen in the bowels of Television Centre.
  • Owners emerge, eye contact is made, body language is telegraphed.
  • Unless this strategy takes account of the realpolitik of dealings with the EU, it too runs the risk of telegraphing the Government's intentions in a way that could cost a high price in negotiations, and in the years to come.



Pronunciation: /təˈleɡrəfər/
Pronunciation: /ˈteləˌɡrafər/
Example sentences
  • The heyday of the telegrapher as a highly paid, highly skilled information worker was over; telegraphers ' brief tenure as members of an elite community with mastery over a miraculous, cutting-edge technology had come to an end.
  • Whimsically, he notes that the Dutch called the volcano Krakatau, and that English telegraphers and journalists misspelled the name for perpetuity.
  • Ticker symbols began as telegraphers ' informal shorthand, but today they are registered with the various exchanges.


Early 18th century: from French télégraphe, from télé- 'at a distance' + -graphe (see -graph).

  • The name telegraph was first used for a semaphore signalling device, consisting of an upright post with movable arms, invented in 1792 by the French engineer and cleric Claude Chappe. The word was based on Greek tēle ‘far off’ (source of words like television and telephone (mid 19th century) from Greek phōnē ‘sound, voice’) and graphein ‘to write’. The first practical electric telegraphs were those of Sir Charles Wheatstone in Britain in 1839 and of Samuel Morse in the USA. A bush telegraph is a rapid informal network by which information or gossip is spread. The expression originated in the Australian outback in the late 19th century. Bushrangers, outlaws who lived in the bush to avoid the authorities, used to rely on a network of informers, nicknamed the bush telegraph, to warn them about the movements of the police in their vicinity. See also grapevine

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tel·e·graph

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