phreak

noun

Examples of phreak in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web As a college student, Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak had tracked down Draper to learn all about phone phreaks and early hacking. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, 22 Oct. 2019 As a college student, Steve Jobs and his friend Steve Wozniak had tracked down Draper to learn all about phone phreaks and early hacking. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, 20 May 2018

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

Word History

Etymology

short for phone phreak in same sense, with respelling of freak entry 1 copying the ph- in phone entry 1

Note: Both phone phreak and the shortening phreak came into general use in print media following their occurrence in the article "Secrets of the Little Blue Box" by the American journalist Ron Rosenbaum in Esquire, October, 1971, pp. 116-125, 222-226. The compound appeared slightly earlier following the arrest of four people in Chester County, Pennsylvania, for illicit use of long-distance telephone lines (George Murray, "4 'Phone Phreak' Suspects Seized as Dial Dodgers," Philadelphia Enquirer, September 29, 1971). The choice of the word freak by the people engaged in such activity has been explained as a punning reference to free call or to frequency. In an article that appeared shortly after the Esquire piece (Maureen Orth, "For Whom Ma Bell Tolls Not," Los Angeles Times magazine, October 31, 1971) the collocation is spelled phone freak.

First Known Use

1972, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phreak was in 1972

Dictionary Entries Near phreak

Cite this Entry

“Phreak.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phreak. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

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