answering machine


Definition of answering machine 

: a machine that receives telephone calls by playing a recorded message and usually by recording messages from callers

Examples of answering machine in a Sentence

I haven't spoken to him yet, but he left a message on my answering machine.

Recent Examples on the Web

Well, in many ways, Siri is just an answering machine. James Vincent, The Verge, "Apple’s new AI chief might actually be the right person to fix Siri," 11 July 2018 That was back in the old tape answering machine days. Allison Stewart,, "Weezer's biggest hit in a very long time is a Toto 'Africa' cover. Go figure," 3 July 2018 Messages left on an answering machine at the couple's home number were not immediately returned. CBS News, "Neighbors stunned after "pleasant" man revealed to be long-missing Air Force officer," 12 June 2018 Messages left on an answering machine at the couple’s home number were not immediately returned. Washington Post, "Neighbors stunned by man who vanished from Air Force," 11 June 2018 Alaska Neuro Associates is closed until June 25, according to an answering machine message at the company's office. Laurel Andrews, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage neuropsychologist charged with possessing and distributing child pornography," 21 June 2018 Authorities said McKinnon left a threatening, four-minute, profanity-laced message in February 2017 on an answering machine at St. Raphael School. Clifford Ward, Naperville Sun, "Army vet sentenced to probation for threats against Naperville school and Wheaton officials; will get treatment from VA," 14 June 2018 People taped posters to telephone poles with tearaway numbers, and left messages on answering machines! Jason Gay, WSJ, "Champion Caps Shake Washington, D.C.," 8 June 2018 This Is John,’’ about a man struggling to record a coherent answering machine message, for just $3 — the cost of a blank tape. Sonia Rao,, "How the Duplass brothers have worked together for almost 40 years without killing each other," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'answering machine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of answering machine

1924, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about answering machine

Share answering machine

Statistics for answering machine

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for answering machine

The first known use of answering machine was in 1924

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for answering machine

answering machine


English Language Learners Definition of answering machine

: a machine that answers the telephone and records messages left by the people who call

answering machine


Kids Definition of answering machine

: a machine that receives telephone calls and records messages from callers

More from Merriam-Webster on answering machine

See words that rhyme with answering machine

Spanish Central: Translation of answering machine

Comments on answering machine

What made you want to look up answering machine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!