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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from telephone

Verb

telephoner noun

Synonyms for telephone

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Two defense attorneys , one experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, sought to conduct the arraignment that day by telephone. Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times, "California judicial watchdog commission admonishes L.A. judge for third time," 2 Apr. 2021 Scammers also have targeted businesses using technology designed for deaf people to communicate by telephone, the AARP said. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, "‘Deaf lottery’ scammers victimize elderly Windsor Locks man — part of nationwide swindle," 25 Mar. 2021 Robles, 47, said by telephone Friday from his Lakewood. Nina Shapiro, Star Tribune, "ICE releases man after three years in sanctuary in a church and detention center," 15 Mar. 2021 Over two hours of arguments by telephone, the justices struggled to identify a standard that would allow courts to distinguish lawful restrictions from improper ones. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "Supreme Court Seems Ready to Sustain Arizona Voting Limits," 2 Mar. 2021 The ability to make payments by telephone or through a website can prevent consumers from incurring late charges or having their accounts fall into delinquency. Ron Hurtibise, sun-sentinel.com, "Homeowners could face illegal fees and modified loans under court settlement, states say," 2 Mar. 2021 There were no public comments, as requested by telephone, during the public hearing. Ed Wittenberg, cleveland, "Solon council moves closer to amending city noise ordinance," 2 Mar. 2021 Some of the polls contacted participants by telephone; others used online panels. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "In Covid-19 Vaccine Surveys, the Wording Affects the Results," 26 Feb. 2021 For additional information, reach the city by telephone at 972-205-3900 or by email at GPH@GarlandTx.gov. Dallas News, "Garland to resume COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday with a drive-through event," 23 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Brent Jones, president of the bottler, AffinityLifestyles.com Inc., and a former Nevada state Republican lawmaker, did not immediately respond Wednesday to telephone and email messages seeking comment. NBC News, "Lawsuits mount for Nevada-based Real Water, amid FDA probe," 25 Mar. 2021 And their parents had to telephone the witch to arrange for her visit. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Study: children’s belief in Santa Claus is more nuanced than you think," 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, "America’s Unlikely Savior," 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, "24-Hour Fitness in The Woodlands on Kuykendahl to close," 17 June 2020 NBC News telephoned Premier to discuss its importation of unapproved COVID-19 tests from the second Chinese firm, Hangzhou Biotest Biotech. NBC News, "Unapproved Chinese coronavirus antibody tests being used in at least 2 states," 15 Apr. 2020 President Trump telephoned South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday to ask if South Korea could send medical equipment to the U.S. to help combat the coronavirus, according to a statement from Seoul’s presidential Blue House. Andrew Jeong, WSJ, "Trump Calls South Korean Leader to Request Supplies to Fight Coronavirus," 24 Mar. 2020 Earlier that day, Vice President Al Gore had telephoned Texas Governor George W. Bush to concede but called back about an hour later to retract his concession. BostonGlobe.com, "In 1837, Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (Mount Holyoke College) opened: It is the oldest existing school that was established as an institution of higher education for women.," 8 Nov. 2019 For questions or other information, members can telephone both YMCAs: Branch Crossing information help can be reached at 281-367-9622. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Pair of Woodlands YMCA locations to partially reopen June 1," 22 May 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of telephone

Noun

1832, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1877, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about telephone

Time Traveler for telephone

Time Traveler

The first known use of telephone was in 1832

See more words from the same year

Statistics for telephone

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Telephone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/telephone. Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on telephone

What made you want to look up telephone? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!