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)


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

Other Words from telephone


telephoner noun

Synonyms for telephone

Synonyms: Verb

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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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The telephone poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. Mark Pazniokas, Hartford Courant, 26 May 2022 Law enforcement officers were serving multiple search warrants Tuesday night and gathering telephone and other records, the official said. Acacia Coronado And Jim Vertuno, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 May 2022 Law enforcement officers investigating the bloodshed began serving search warrants and gathering telephone and other records. Acacia Coronado And Jim Vertuno, Anchorage Daily News, 25 May 2022 Julie Burkhart, the clinic’s director, said clinic organizers had been receiving harassing emails and telephone messages. Mead Gruver, ajc, 25 May 2022 Law enforcement officers investigating the bloodshed began serving search warrants and gathering telephone and other records. Jim Vertuno, Fortune, 25 May 2022 Ex-President Donald Trump, meanwhile, planned to hold a telephone rally in the evening to champion the candidacy of former U.S. Sen. David Perdue. Jeff Amy,, 23 May 2022 Jack, a speed demon and a danger mouse, but above all a gentleman, would wait for me at every telephone pole. The New Yorker, 23 May 2022 The pursuit went into nearby cities before Rogers crashed into a telephone pole in downtown Cleveland. Olivia Mitchell, cleveland, 21 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Chechens celebrated their victory and let their prisoners telephone their mothers back home in Russia, calling on Moscow to withdraw its troops. New York Times, 29 Mar. 2022 The Taylors’ family members have not been able to visit or telephone them. Yuri Kageyama, ajc, 10 Mar. 2022 On the eve of the invasion, Zelensky had tried to telephone Putin to appeal for negotiations, but the Russian leader would not take the call. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, 27 Feb. 2022 He was bound with rope for hours in his basement, but eventually made it to a neighbors house to telephone police after regaining consciousness. Edmund H. Mahony,, 12 Apr. 2021 Brent Jones, president of the bottler, Inc., and a former Nevada state Republican lawmaker, did not immediately respond Wednesday to telephone and email messages seeking comment. NBC News, 25 Mar. 2021 And their parents had to telephone the witch to arrange for her visit. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 25 Dec. 2020 After speaking at a union hall in his original hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden was approached by a man named Jim Gilbooley, who asked him to telephone a passionate supporter, Sarah Corbett, who was dying of cancer. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 7 Nov. 2020 Any members of the Kuykendahl location can telephone the Town Center gym with questions on how to switch membership. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, 17 June 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of telephone


1832, in the meaning defined above


1877, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Time Traveler for telephone

Time Traveler

The first known use of telephone was in 1832

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Dictionary Entries Near telephone



telephone book

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Statistics for telephone

Last Updated

28 May 2022

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for telephone


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


telephoned; telephoning

Kids Definition of telephone (Entry 2 of 2)

: to speak to by telephone

More from Merriam-Webster on telephone

Nglish: Translation of telephone for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of telephone for Arabic Speakers


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