phone

1 of 5

noun (1)

phone

2 of 5

verb

phoned; phoning

phone

3 of 5

noun (2)

: a speech sound considered as a physical event without regard to its place in the sound system of a language

-phone

4 of 5

noun combining form

plural -phones
1
: sound-transmitting device
microphone
radiophone
2
: musical instrument
xylophone
3
: speech sound
homophone
: symbol representing a speech sound
polyphone
4
: speaker of (a specified language)
Francophone

-phone

5 of 5

adjective combining form

: of or relating to a population that speaks (a specified language)
Francophone

Example Sentences

Verb Someone from the newspaper will be phoning with a few questions. she phoned her friend to invite her over for dinner

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

by shortening

Verb

derivative of phone entry 1

Noun (2)

borrowed from Greek phōnḗ "voice, speech" — more at phono-

Noun combining form

borrowed from Greek -phōnos "having a sound (of the kind or number specified)," derivative of phōnḗ "sound made by something living, voice, speech, utterance"; (sense 4) borrowed from French, borrowed from Greek -phōnos — more at phono-

Adjective combining form

borrowed from French — more at -phone entry 1

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1880, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1885, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

circa 1866, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phone was circa 1866

Dictionary Entries Near phone

Cite this Entry

“Phone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phone. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

phone

2 of 3

verb

phoned; phoning

-phone

3 of 3

noun combining form

ˌfōn
: sound
homophone
often in names of musical instruments and sound-sending devices
radiophonexylophone

More from Merriam-Webster on phone

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Words Named After People

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