Recent Examples on the WebAs 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 example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phreak.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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.