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

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Edward BerthelotGetty Images Katie Holmes apparently loves art, going to the Metropolitan Museum with boyfriend Jamie Foxx, supporting art causes, and even dialing up her fashion lately. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Katie Holmes Channels the Eco Fashion Trend with a Hand-Painted Tote Bag," 8 Apr. 2019 Dorothy Craig hasn’t quite mastered writing her name on paper, but the 3-year-old knows how to dial 9-1-1. Vanesa Brashier, Houston Chronicle, "Cleveland mom says she is proud of daughter’s 9-1-1 call for help," 7 June 2018 Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence Sheridan said at a news conference Monday evening that around 2 p.m., a citizen dialed 911 to report a possible burglary with four suspects. Fox News, "FOX NEWS FIRST: Republicans want 2nd special counsel for alleged DOJ, FBI misconduct; Trump-S. Korea leader meeting," 22 May 2018 They're so dialed in in terms of technology in a way that my generation never will be. Chuck Dauphin, Billboard, "Frank Newsome Muses on Faith, Geography and the Past on His New Record, 'Gone Away With a Friend'," 22 June 2018 Newton North scored twice in the first inning and Mia Patriacca was dialed in, allowing just four hits in the Tigers’ 2-1 Division 1 North sectional semifinal victory against Medford in Lowell. Brandan Blom, BostonGlobe.com, "Newton North, Methuen reach Division 1 North softball final," 15 June 2018 One game Kevin Durant is a head case, the next he’s dialed in. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Klay Thompson played hurt — and very, very well in Game 2," 3 June 2018 Photo composite: Heather Seidel/The Wall Street Journal Emergency call centers sometimes have a hard time pinpointing an address when a person dials 911 from their cellphone. Sarah Krouse, WSJ, "FCC Tackles 911 Dilemma: What Floor Are You Calling From?," 15 Mar. 2019 Rachel pried his cell from his pants pocket and dialed 911, but the signal cut in and out. Rose Minutaglio, Good Housekeeping, "My Husband Tried to Murder Me in Our Yard. Then He Killed Himself.," 15 Oct. 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

2 May 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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