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

The first commercially available telephone answering machine. Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Forget beer. Exhibition shows it was mastery of machinery that made Milwaukee hum.," 9 Sep. 2019 Mom should finish getting baby into a clean diaper to end fussing, then answer the door because the phone answering machine will identify who called. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Your Say: Election 2020 priorities," 2 Aug. 2019 Don’t click on links in the message, or call phone numbers that are left on your answering machine, either., "Interactive quiz: Could you pass the PARCC standardized tests?," 27 Aug. 2019 The only real-world information provided comes in code: When the phone rings downstairs, the children lie with their ears pressed to the floor to make out the messages on the answering machine. New York Times, "Review: In ‘Make Believe,’ Four Children Meet Their Inner Adults," 15 Aug. 2019 Thanks to an Easter egg found in Stranger Things 3, fans were able to hear an enlightening answering machine message that hints at Season 4. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Stranger Things Season 4 Theories Are Already Flooding the Internet," 21 July 2019 Berry, who is now eighty-four, does not own a computer or a cell phone, and his landline is not connected to an answering machine. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Going Home with Wendell Berry," 29 May 2019 Records reviewed by The Chronicle showed that only about 60 percent — from 15,000 to 25,000 alerts — were delivered either to a person or to an answering machine. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, "Can California avoid a third year of fire catastrophe? Here’s what’s been fixed — and what hasn’t," 20 June 2019 After leaving a message on his childhood love’s answering machine, Jack is determined to erase the message at any cost. Vogue, "The Best New Year’s Eve–Theme Movies and TV Shows to Watch Tonight," 31 Dec. 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

Statistics for answering machine

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

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

Rhyming Dictionary: 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).


suitable to be imparted to the public

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!