dial

1 of 3

noun

di·​al ˈdī(-ə)l How to pronounce dial (audio)
1
: the face of a sundial
2
obsolete : timepiece
3
: the graduated face of a timepiece
4
a
: 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

2 of 3

verb

dialed or dialled; dialing or dialling

transitive verb

1
: to measure with a dial
2
a
: 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

dial

3 of 3

abbreviation

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Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The back of each album cover includes a sector of a dial which, when arranged in a square, forms a clock. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 3 Oct. 2022 The filet sauté detailing that runs around the periphery of the dial and the watchmaker’s famous exploding star guilloche pattern may also drum up feelings of nostalgia within collectors. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 23 Sep. 2022 The Bowflex Barbell and Curl Bar is an all-in-one strength-building system that adjusts from 20 to 80 pounds in 10-pound increments with the swivel of a dial. Kathleen Willcox, Popular Mechanics, 21 Sep. 2022 To those who prefer their coffee cortado-style and their Latin pop left-of-the-dial: The psych-rockers have just the record for you. Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2022 That night in Pontiac, Ms. Swain’s voice swoops, dips, and glides through several octaves as effortlessly as the turn of a dial. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 July 2022 Temperatures range from 180 to 400 degrees which can be controlled by a simple twist of the dial. Joe Morales, Good Housekeeping, 5 July 2022 Each twist of the dial cinches cables in the tights that are mapped to the muscles on your body, but still allow for unfettered activity. Julie Dugdale, Outside Online, 11 June 2022 The new Apple Watch Ultra also includes a new Wayfinder face with a compass on the dial and up to eight complications, and can be customized for the mountain, ocean, and trail. WIRED, 14 Sep. 2022
Verb
Look for Sean McVay to dial up the run game as the Cardinals search for an answer to stop Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp. Jaylon Thompson, USA TODAY, 26 Sep. 2022 Johnson perhaps wisely realizes that the best way to sequelize is to dial the mystery energy up as high as possible, wrapping plot inside plot (like, well, an onion) to keep the audience on its toes. David Sims, The Atlantic, 23 Sep. 2022 One more sweet slurp of alcopop dedicated to the girls wiping tables called ‘Belinda Says’ and the dial-up electronic dream ‘Very Online Guy,’ the band says. Jonathan Cohen, SPIN, 22 Sep. 2022 My favorite part of this look is undoubtedly the boots, which dial up the chunk factor to 11. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 22 Sep. 2022 Gavras has clearly studied the physicality of the great siege and battle movies, making extensive use of long takes to dial up both the immersive aspect and the immediacy, placing us right in the thick of things. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 Sep. 2022 Generous lashings of Cambodian fermented red chili paste enhance the spice level, which vendors are all too happy to dial up for you. Kate Springer, CNN, 22 Aug. 2022 Paint can be used to lend attitude to a space—or dial up the funk that's already present. Alyssa Longobucco, House Beautiful, 12 Aug. 2022 The Browns might now want to dial up Tretter, who’s still a free agent, possibly because of his hard-line stance on players skipping their teams’ offseason programs as president of the NFL Players Association. cleveland, 12 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1653, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near dial

Cite this Entry

“Dial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dial. Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

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Kids Definition

dial 1 of 2

noun

di·​al ˈdī-əl How to pronounce dial (audio)
1
: the face of a watch or clock
2
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

2 of 2

verb

dialed or dialled; dialing or dialling
: to use a knob, button, or other control to operate or select

More from Merriam-Webster on dial

Last Updated: 5 Oct 2022

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