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

First, the telephone company prevailed against the Justice Department, whose appeal to block the deal was defeated in court a second time. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "New HBO Drama Could Have Sad Twist," 1 Mar. 2019 Direct telephone lines had been restored between the countries a day earlier, for the first time in two decades. Selam Gebrekidan, New York Times, "Ethiopia and Eritrea Declare an End to Their War," 9 July 2018 ARC’s communications office did not return multiple telephone and email messages seeking comment Tuesday and Wednesday. Tom Krisher, The Seattle Times, "Driver hurt by air bag shrapnel as investigation drags on," 20 Feb. 2019 In a sneak peek at season 6 (above), Hope Valley receives its first-ever telephone, which likely means the show is currently around the year 1915, when the device became more common. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Everything to Know About 'When Calls the Heart' Season 6," 17 Feb. 2019 The clues also tell us that the Poodle has some sort of association with a telephone. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "We Swear This Theory About Who the Poodle Is on 'The Masked Singer' Is Right," 23 Jan. 2019 As Shimon heard from his federal source, Hoover had come to Bobby Kennedy in March with some of the latest audio from Giancana’s bugged telephones. Lee Server, Town & Country, "The Real Reason Frank Sinatra Was Banned from the Kennedy White House," 7 Nov. 2018 Big telephone companies like Verizon Communications Inc. often use the cheapest available middleman to get long-distance calls to numbers in a local exchange. Drew Fitzgerald, WSJ, "Rural America Still Waiting for Phone Calls That Won’t Connect," 6 Jan. 2019 According to the research paper, that 1972 solar flare was one of the strongest on record, and in addition to exploding a few dozen mines also interfered with telephone lines and triggered power outages around the world. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "How the Sun Set Off Dozens of Mines During the Vietnam War," 9 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 At another point in the clip, a six-year-old Salvadorian girl pleads through tears for someone to telephone her aunt, according to ProPublica. Monica Rodriguez, Fortune, "Audio Reveals Border Agent Joking About Crying Immigrant Children," 18 June 2018 Later, when Doris—looking youthful after a series of plastic surgeries—was dating much younger jazz musician Joe Castro, Barbara telephoned him. Stephanie Mansfield, Town & Country, "Inside the World's Richest Rivalry: Doris Duke and Barbara Hutton," 26 Apr. 2017 Richard telephoned several more times that February, Iseler said. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "He abandoned his family 25 years ago. Now Richard Hoagland owes them $2 million," 29 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

17 Mar 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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