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

Behold the wonder of this device as the cartoon cat awakens when a telephone call comes in: The phone has become a kitschy collector's item in certain parts of the world (get yours on eBay!). Andrew Moseman, Popular Mechanics, "A 35-Year-Old Garfield Novelty Telephone Mystery Has Been Solved," 29 Mar. 2019 And the first telephone call in the United Kingdom was made from Brown’s by Sir Alexander Graham Bell. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "The Best Room At... Brown's Hotel," 8 Feb. 2019 The nationwide telephone survey of 1,400 adults, conducted between April 28 and May 8, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percent. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: A poll commissioned by Bush and Biden shows Americans losing confidence in democracy," 26 June 2018 To quantify the effect, the researchers looked at responses from a telephone survey of adults, who were asked about their mental health in the last 30 days. Aneri Pattani, Philly.com, "Police killings strain mental health of entire black community, study finds," 21 June 2018 The poll is based on telephone surveys of 1,702 California adults, including 901 likely voters. John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, "Newsom leads governor’s poll, with Cox and Villaraigosa fighting for second," 23 May 2018 Study co-author Eleni Greenwood, a UCSF clinical fellow, noted that a previous study involving a telephone survey of women who had undergone egg freezing asked this question explicitly. Ariana Eunjung Cha, chicagotribune.com, "Egg-freezing regrets: Half of women who undergo the procedure have some remorse," 18 May 2018 The data were collected through telephone surveys, mostly using household landlines, from June 2011 through January 2013 in 56 geographic areas. Susan Abrams, sacbee, "Blacks Californians are more likely to experience mental health problems. Why? | The Sacramento Bee," 15 May 2018 The live telephone survey of 1,076 New York voters was conducted between April 26 and May 1 and has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points. Shane Goldmacher, New York Times, "Cuomo Leads Nixon by 22 Points in New Poll," 2 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

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

12 May 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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to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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