dial tone


Definition of 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 That allows the phone to start drawing power, giving the user a dial tone—the signal that the phone is ready to be used. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "Things Come Apart: A Pay Phone," 27 Nov. 2015 This principle continued as time advanced, technology changed, and Internet access became the dial tone of the digital age. Verne Kopytoff, Fortune, "Democratic FCC Commissioners Railed Against Net Neutrality Repeal. Read Their Statements," 14 Dec. 2017 In some cases, the sound of a dial tone may constitute service under the tariff test and therefore not even trigger a public comment and review. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "FCC’s latest gift to telcos could leave Americans with worse Internet access," 14 Nov. 2017 This is a man who will debate with dial tones, or give 10 minutes to one of those automated airplane updates that’s announcing a flight delay. Greg Bishop, SI.com, "Everything Changes, But Don King Will Always Be Don King," 3 Nov. 2017 Those that made such pleas on the airwaves were among the lucky few whose landlines still got a dial tone, or whose cell still picked up a signal — people like Zuania Capó, whose working cell phone turned her into a traveling dispatcher. Jen Kirby, Daily Intelligencer, "Radio, Word of Mouth, and the Fleeting Cell Signal: How Puerto Rico Struggled to Communicate After Hurricane Maria," 1 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dial tone.' 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 tone

1923, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for dial tone

Time Traveler

The first known use of dial tone was in 1923

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Statistics for dial tone

Cite this Entry

“Dial tone.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dial%20tone. Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for dial tone

dial tone


English Language Learners Definition of dial tone

US : the sound that comes from a telephone when it is ready for a call to be made

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More from Merriam-Webster on dial tone

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dial tone

Spanish Central: Translation of dial tone

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about dial tone

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