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

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 There are large analog speedometer and tachometer dials, with an analog fuel gauge on the right and battery charge indicator on the left. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Love the hardware, hate the UI: The Acura MDX Sport Hybrid," 13 Dec. 2018 A year later, the introduction of the dial telephone provoked an uproar among senators. New York Times, "Overlooked No More: Harriott Daley, the Capitol’s First Telephone Operator," 23 Apr. 2018 These days, the focus is the television, not the wondrous relics from the Costello’s era hidden around the building: a metal cash register, a tin ceiling, rusty filing cabinets, a set of fluorescent lights, a tall safe with a combination dial. Alex Vadukul, New York Times, "The Sistine Chapel of Comic-Strip Art," 11 May 2018 The thin steering-column gear stick feels delicate amidst all the big and bold climate dials and console buttons. Robert Duffer, chicagotribune.com, "What makes Rolls-Royce Phantom worth $643,000?," 28 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But while Trump and Rupert speak regularly, the president has not picked up the phone and dialed Lachlan. Sarah Ellison, The Seattle Times, "Younger Murdoch take the reins. How will he deal with Trump?," 25 Mar. 2019 This can help soothe any pain, dial down redness and keep scabbing under control. Hannah Orenstein, Seventeen, ""I Have a Cold Sore. Does That Mean I Have Herpes?"," 22 Feb. 2019 The day after his State of the Union address, Trump dialed at least one senator to get feedback. Seung-min Kim, The Seattle Times, "‘He just picks up’: Trump and the lawmakers he loves to talk to on the phone," 20 Feb. 2019 They did not, however, see eye to eye with President Donald Trump and have dialed back their political efforts over the last couple of years. Author: Jeremy W. Peters, Anchorage Daily News, "David Koch, in poor health, steps down from business and conservative political group," 5 June 2018 Once the rear end of the car is hanging wide and Knox dials in his line, the car seems to hold a glorious drift without much effort. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Electric Slide: We Drove the Tesla Model 3 in the Snow to See How It Fares as a Rally Car," 21 Feb. 2019 This transition took place as the economy improved, but the narrative is much more complicated than designers dialing things up and down in time to economic fluctuations. Eliza Brooke, Vox, "How the Great Recession influenced a decade of design," 27 Dec. 2018 All of that would be delivered in a browser or app to anyone who cares to either dial in or build their own information utility using that freely available data. Dan Rosenbaum, Ars Technica, "All hail the AI overlord: Smart cities and the AI Internet of Things," 7 Dec. 2018 And that of course-ness is felt in the film’s final act, as everyone from the writers to the actors seems to dial up the wackiness and whimsy in order to deliver the feel-good ending a film like this demands. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Christopher Robin takes Winnie the Pooh in a somber new direction," 3 Aug. 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

18 Apr 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

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