dial tone


: a tone emitted by a telephone as a signal that the system is ready for dialing

Examples of dial tone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web OpenAI’s Sora has made that problem seem as antiquated as a modem’s dial tone. Kylie Robison, Fortune, 15 Feb. 2024 The Free Press found two pay phones in the lobby of the 36th District Court in Detroit, but couldn't get a dial tone on either one. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, 4 Jan. 2024 His 20 albums range from glam rock forerunner (Transformer, produced by David Bowie) to tragic rock opera (Berlin) to instrumental saw blade and dial tone (Metal Machine Music) to sincere pop schmaltz (Set the Twilight Reeling). Jeremy Lybarger, The New Republic, 17 Oct. 2023 The phone on Ninetieth Street had a dial tone. Zach Helfand, The New Yorker, 28 May 2022 Or the dial tone of creation. Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2021 There was only an empty dial tone. Elliot Ackerman, Wired, 26 Jan. 2021 The lead guitar sounds less like a guitar than a bizarro dial tone — a round, rich, buzzing that Sohn spins into puckish, prickly riffs. Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone, 21 Sep. 2022 Invest in supply chain operating systems to begin the journey of building a supply chain bi-directional dial tone. Lora Cecere, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dial tone.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1923, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of dial tone was in 1923

Dictionary Entries Near dial tone

Cite this Entry

“Dial tone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dial%20tone. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

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