tele·​graph | \ ˈte-lə-ˌgraf How to pronounce telegraph (audio) \

Definition of telegraph

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an apparatus for communication at a distance by coded signals especially : an apparatus, system, or process for communication at a distance by electric transmission over wire
2 : telegram


telegraphed; telegraphing; telegraphs

Definition of telegraph (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to send or communicate by or as if by telegraph
b : to send a telegram to
c : to send by means of a telegraphic order
2 : to make known by signs especially unknowingly and in advance

Other Words from telegraph


telegrapher \ tə-​ˈle-​grə-​fər How to pronounce telegraph (audio) \ noun
telegraphist \ tə-​ˈle-​grə-​fist How to pronounce telegraph (audio) \ noun

Examples of telegraph in a Sentence

Noun I sent the message by telegraph. Verb He telegraphed a message to her. Please telegraph when you get there. Please telegraph me when you get there. The look on her face telegraphed bad news. He lost the boxing match because he was telegraphing his punches. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The soldiers protected railroad builders, constructed and repaired telegraph lines, guarded stagecoaches and supply trains, patrolled cattle along the Mexican border and protected the mail. Shanti Lerner, The Arizona Republic, 21 Feb. 2022 In the mid-19th century the railway metaphor for the nervous system gave way to another transformative technological advance: the telegraph. Benjamin Ehrlich, Scientific American, 21 Mar. 2022 The train and the telegraph made long distances feel short. Charlie Tyson, The Atlantic, 15 Mar. 2022 News of the storm from elsewhere in the state was slow to arrive due to the damage to the telegraph and telephone poles. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 22 Feb. 2022 An unlikely repeat of the Carrington event, a massive solar storm in 1859 that shut down telegraph networks, would be even worse in today’s far more electronic world. Tim Fernholz, Quartz, 16 Feb. 2022 And there’s the resonant irony that, ten years before Standard Time became a thing, timepiece hub St. Imier runs on four different clocks: factory time, municipal time, telegraph time and railway time. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 15 Feb. 2022 The telegraph and telephone reduced the need for letters. CBS News, 3 Feb. 2022 The Wire Act prohibits the use of phone or telegraph lines to convey sports bets or betting information across state lines, regardless of whether wagering is legal. Los Angeles Times, 30 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And yet the hand that instinctively moves to his face, the torso that recoils in horror before reluctantly stepping into the breach, more swiftly and surely telegraph Pyre’s looming crisis of faith than hours of exposition. Los Angeles Times Staff, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 2022 This may be endemic to the production: Director Neil Pepe can, at times, telegraph certain moments unduly. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 14 Apr. 2022 New fantasy sequences, demarcated in concert with sudden shifts of lighting, telegraph a bit too crudely how much these women want to run from their lives. New York Times, 20 Mar. 2022 At the same time, Aron did telegraph potentially more losses in early 2022 before the benefits of a Hollywood box office rebound showed up in the rest of the year. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Mar. 2022 In other words, if borrowing costs weren't already ticking up, and the stock market was still looking particularly frothy, the Fed would have to telegraph even more dramatic steps. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 5 May 2022 By this time, however, the character of the artist had become a subject of interest, the more so as members of a newly prosperous mercantile class sought to telegraph their ascendance by commissioning portraits and acquiring art. New York Times, 21 Apr. 2022 Here's a baggy jean with a runway stamp of approval, plus tiny logo-print embroidery on the left pocket to telegraph your style expertise. Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 14 Apr. 2022 Zaslav has made sure to telegraph his commitment to eating, sleeping and breathing Hollywood since the deal was unveiled. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of telegraph


1793, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1806, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for telegraph


French télégraphe, from télé- tele- (from Greek tēle-) + -graphe -graph

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Time Traveler for telegraph

Time Traveler

The first known use of telegraph was in 1793

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Dictionary Entries Near telegraph



telegraph block

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Statistics for telegraph

Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Telegraph.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for telegraph


tele·​graph | \ ˈte-lə-ˌgraf How to pronounce telegraph (audio) \

Kids Definition of telegraph

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an electric device or system for sending messages by a code over connecting wires


telegraphed; telegraphing

Kids Definition of telegraph (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to send by code over connecting wires
2 : to send a telegram to


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