telephone

noun, often attributive
tele·​phone | \ ˈte-lə-ˌfōn How to pronounce telephone (audio) \

Definition of telephone

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an instrument for reproducing sounds at a distance specifically : one in which sound is converted into electrical impulses for transmission (as by wire or radio waves)

telephone

verb
telephoned; telephoning

Definition of telephone (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to speak to or attempt to reach by telephone
2 : to send by telephone

intransitive verb

: to communicate by telephone

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Other Words from telephone

Verb

telephoner noun

Synonyms for telephone

Synonyms: Verb

call, dial, phone, ring (up) [chiefly British]

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Examples of telephone in a Sentence

Noun

I just have to make a quick telephone call before we leave. You can order the cake over the telephone. The telephone has been ringing all morning! She picked up the telephone and dialed the number. He slammed down the telephone. They hired someone to answer the telephones. All our telephones are cordless. I left the telephone off the hook.

Verb

He telephoned me to say that he was going to be late. He telephoned to say that he was going to be late. You never write or telephone.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Multiple telephone calls seeking comment from Wisely Properties, which owns Sterling Glen, and Clayton R. Wisely, who is listed in public records as the firm’s owner, were not returned. Washington Post, "ACLU sues Virginia housing complex over ban on felons," 5 July 2019 The circumstances of his death were not immediately known and Brockton officials did not immediately return telephone calls seeking information. John R. Ellement, BostonGlobe.com, "Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter dead at 62," 3 July 2019 That would be unnecessary if the administration is dropping its legal efforts, something Hazel asked Justice Department lawyers to put in writing during a telephone conference call Tuesday. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "President Trump sows confusion over census plans and addition of a citizenship question," 3 July 2019 In late August, 2016, three weeks after her husband, Xiyue Wang, disappeared in Iran, Hua Qu received a telephone call. Laura Dean, The New Yorker, "The Threat of War Brings New Fears to an American Hostage in Iran," 24 June 2019 Efforts to get comments from Dominican authorities through telephone calls, emails and texts on Thursday, a national holiday in the Caribbean country, were unsuccessful. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Kansas man, Pennsylvania woman died suddenly in Dominican Republic, bringing US citizen death total to 11," 21 June 2019 Attorneys for Hicks and the officers didn't immediately respond to telephone calls and emails seeking comment on Tuesday. Michael Kunzelman, baltimoresun.com, "Federal judge rules in Maryland that Secret Service agent can sue officers over detention," 11 June 2019 The police station, sheriff's office and fire department as well as the switchboard at The News were swamped with telephone calls. Dallas News, "D-Day as Dallas lived it," 6 June 2019 Another House bill that failed without a vote on the final night was a controversial measure to make telephone calls free for state prison inmates. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "2019 General Assembly ends; Lamont thanks legislators for passing budget on time," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

German commanders in the invasion area telephoned for permission to bring up the First Panzer Corps, which was northwest of Paris. Time, "Inside General Eisenhower’s Sleepless Night Ahead of the D-Day Invasion," 6 June 2019 Preparations for the mini-summit in Washington were in high gear when Pompeo telephoned Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and canceled Thursday's meeting. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, "Mike Pompeo was supposed to meet with his Indian counterpart. He went to North Korea instead.," 6 July 2018 That put him close to Mr. Trump the businessman, who often telephoned CEOs who did business in China— Blackstone Group LP’s Stephen Schwarzman and Wynn Resorts founder Steve Wynn—who urged him to cut a deal. Lingling Wei, WSJ, "‘Bring Me Tariffs’—How Trump and Xi Drove Their Countries to the Brink of a Trade War," 28 Nov. 2018 Kivlen frantically telephoned friends at the GLHF bar hosting the tournament at the Jacksonville Landing venue. Alan Blinder, The Seattle Times, "Jacksonville shooting suspect appeared to be targeting specific gamers, police say," 28 Aug. 2018 In the Montgomery County incident, police said a faculty member told police that a threat had been telephoned to the middle school. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "Local Digest: Man dies after Memorial Day crash," 7 June 2018 In December, Putin telephoned U.S. President Donald Trump to thank him for what the Kremlin described as a CIA tip that prevented the bombings in St. Petersburg. Vladimir Isachenkov, Fox News, "World Cup security Putin's top priority but threats loom," 4 June 2018 In December, Putin telephoned U.S. President Donald Trump to thank him for what the Kremlin described as a CIA tip that prevented the bombings in St. Petersburg. Washington Post, "World Cup security Putin’s top priority but threats loom," 4 June 2018 Jake Maggio summoned the police, while Andrew telephoned for the Charity Hospital ambulance. James Karst, NOLA.com, "'A peculiar turn' in the Axeman investigation of 1918," 13 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'telephone.' 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 telephone

Noun

1832, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1877, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for telephone

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for telephone

The first known use of telephone was in 1832

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More Definitions for telephone

telephone

noun

English Language Learners Definition of telephone

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a system that uses wires and radio signals to send sounds (such as people's voices) over long distances
: a device that is connected to a telephone system and that you use to listen or speak to someone who is somewhere else

telephone

verb

English Language Learners Definition of telephone (Entry 2 of 2)

: to speak or try to speak to (someone) using a telephone : to call or phone (someone)

telephone

noun
tele·​phone | \ ˈte-lə-ˌfōn How to pronounce telephone (audio) \

Kids Definition of telephone

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a device for transmitting and receiving sounds over long distances

telephone

verb
telephoned; telephoning

Kids Definition of telephone (Entry 2 of 2)

: to speak to by telephone

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Comments on telephone

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