dial

noun
di·​al | \ ˈdī(-ə)l How to pronounce dial (audio) \

Definition of dial

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the face of a sundial
2 obsolete : timepiece
3 : the graduated face of a timepiece
4a : a face upon which some measurement is registered usually by means of graduations and a pointer the thermometer dial reads 70°F
b : a device that may be operated to make electrical connections or to regulate the operation of a machine a radio dial a telephone dial

dial

verb
dialed or dialled; dialing or dialling

Definition of dial (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to measure with a dial
2a : to manipulate a device (such as a dial) so as to operate, regulate, or select dial your favorite program dialed the wrong number
b : call sense 1m(1) dialed the office

intransitive verb

1 : to manipulate a dial
2 : to make a telephone call or connection

Definition of dial (Entry 3 of 3)

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Other Words from dial

Verb

dialer noun

Synonyms for dial

Synonyms: Verb

call, phone, ring (up) [chiefly British], telephone

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Examples of dial in a Sentence

Noun

the dial of a pressure gauge I had to keep adjusting the radio dial to make the station come in clearly.

Verb

I'm sorry. I must have dialed the wrong number. dialed 911 and asked for the police
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Each radio station in the game — players on mobile phones will swipe rather than turn a dial — brings us to another opinionated viewpoint. Todd Martens, latimes.com, "‘Alt-Frequencies,’ a radio drama for the social media era," 7 June 2019 Climate controls are easily accessed with dials for temp and fan speed with a row of switches for defrost-vent-recirc. Mark Maynard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "2018 Hyundai Kona: A big deal in a small space," 20 Apr. 2018 Goal Zero’s Lighthouse Core Lantern provides up to 430 lumens, adjustable by an easy-to-use brightness dial. Kraig Becker, Popular Mechanics, "How to Set Up Camp," 2 Apr. 2019 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 31 The olive green face, 18-karat yellow gold hands and sunray dial make for an eye-catching addition to the Rolex Datejust range—but the best detail is at 6 o’clock, where the VI numeral is set with 11 diamonds. Alexander Fisher, WSJ, "Baselworld Report: Our 10 Favorite Watches," 26 Mar. 2019 And yes, my parents used to pick up the phone and disrupt my dial-up Internet escapades. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Try your hand at being an operator at the Roseville Telephone Museum," 22 Dec. 2018 Back when America Online was a dial-up internet giant, the conference now known as the Pac-12 was a men’s basketball power. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "The Worst Pac-12 Season Ever," 13 Mar. 2019 The fixture's arm is clipped to some nearby object to anchor the protractor dial, which must be returned to zero after the initial torque is applied. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "How to Use a Torque Wrench to Keep Your Car from Flying Apart," 26 Feb. 2019 The smooth, flat surface is stainless steel coated in white, and features a touch screen, timer, and the ability to actually choose a specific temperature setting (instead of just spinning a dial, like most space heaters). Kaitlin Menza, House Beautiful, "Yes, Attractive Space Heaters Actually Exist," 1 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The 11-year-old’s older sister dialed 911 and was put on hold by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, her relatives said. Maya Lau, latimes.com, "L.A. County to pay $3 million to family who says failed 911 calls led to girl's death," 4 June 2019 The department is asking anyone who has seen Gilenna or knows of his whereabouts to dial 911 and report it to police. Frank Abderholden, Lake County News-Sun, "Fire department searches Chain O' Lakes inlet for Fox Lake man missing since early May," 4 June 2019 The president has been actively engaged in conversations about health care, dialing up lawmakers in the House and Senate, and the White House is expected to lay out further details on his goals in the coming days. Lisa Mascaro, The Seattle Times, "Senate GOP wary in Trump’s revived health care battle," 1 Apr. 2019 Turn the lights off, and dial up the brightness of your screen. Verge Staff, The Verge, "Seven scary stories to tell by the light of your screen," 31 Oct. 2018 In another Twitter message, Natan Belachew, also from Addis Ababa, detailed a similar experience after dialing a random number and speaking with a woman in Asmara. Megan Specia, New York Times, "After 20 Years of Silence, Strangers in Ethiopia and Eritrea Call to Say Hello," 11 July 2018 The issue received new attention this week after the results of a police investigation in Cincinnati revealed numerous breakdowns in the response to a teenager who got trapped under the backseat of his minivan and died despite voice-dialing 911. Fox News, "Emergency 911 technology struggles to keep up with the times," 17 May 2018 Some popular dating apps tried to make light of Facebook's dating play, which could dial up competition. Anchorage Daily News, "Facebook’s mission to connect people now includes helping them date," 2 May 2018 With the rest of Golden State’s cadre of All-Stars dialing up the intensity to playoff levels as promised, the Spurs stood little chance of drawing first blood in the Western Conference first round series. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Warriors find lost mojo, pummel Spurs in Game 1," 14 Apr. 2018

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

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First Known Use of dial

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1653, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for dial

Noun

Middle English dyal, from Medieval Latin dialis clock wheel revolving daily, from Latin dies day — more at deity

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Statistics for dial

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for dial

The first known use of dial was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for dial

dial

noun

English Language Learners Definition of dial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the part of a clock or watch that has the numbers on it
: the part of a piece of equipment that shows the measurement of something with a moving piece (such as a needle) that points to a number
: a round control on a radio or television that you use to select a station or channel or to make the volume louder or quieter

dial

verb

English Language Learners Definition of dial (Entry 2 of 2)

: to select (a series of numbers) on a telephone by turning a dial or pushing buttons
: to make a telephone call to (a person, business, etc.)

dial

noun
di·​al | \ ˈdī-əl How to pronounce dial (audio) \

Kids Definition of dial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the face of a watch or clock
2 : sundial
3 : a usually flat round part of a piece of equipment with numbers or marks to show some measurement usually by means of a pointer the dial of a pressure gauge
4 : a part of a machine or device (as a radio) that may be turned to operate or adjust it

dial

verb
dialed or dialled; dialing or dialling

Kids Definition of dial (Entry 2 of 2)

: to use a knob, button, or other control to operate or select

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More from Merriam-Webster on dial

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dial

Spanish Central: Translation of dial

Nglish: Translation of dial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dial for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dial

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