phreak·​er | \ ˈfrē-kər How to pronounce phreaker (audio) \

Definition of phreaker

: one who gains illegal access to the telephone system

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Other Words from phreaker

phreaking \ ˈfrē-​kiŋ How to pronounce phreaking (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

Phreakers are people who specialize in attacks on the telephone system. The word, which became popular in the mid-1980s, is probably a combination of the words phone and freak. (Phreakers are also known as "phreaks" or "phone phreaks.") In the early days, phreakers whistled or used an instrument to mimic the tones the phone system then used to route calls and identify payment, especially as a way to avoid paying for an expensive call. Modern phreaking involves breaking into and manipulating the phone company's computer system, making it a specialized kind of hacking.

Examples of phreaker in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In fact, the friends’ first business venture together was marketing blue boxes to aspiring phreakers. Laura Yan, Popular Mechanics, "An Early Hacker Used a Cereal Box Whistle to Take Over Phone Lines," 20 May 2018

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

First Known Use of phreaker

1984, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of phreaker was in 1984

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