Word of the Day : June 1, 2015


noun FREE-ker


: one who gains illegal access to the telephone system

Did You Know?

Phreakers are people who specialize in attacks on the telephone system. The word, which became popular in the mid-1980s, is probably a combination of the words phone and freak. (Phreakers are also known as "phreaks" or "phone phreaks.") In the early days, phreakers whistled or used an instrument to mimic the tones the phone system then used to route calls and identify payment, especially as a way to avoid paying for an expensive call. Modern phreaking involves breaking into and manipulating the phone company's computer system, making it a specialized kind of hacking.


This year's annual conference on culture and technology will focus on the subculture of hackers and phreakers.

"Wire fraud spiked, and the FBI cracked down on phreakers and their blue boxes." - Jose Pagliery, CNN.com, March 11, 2015

Test Your Memory

What former Word of the Day derives from the same Latin root as our word rude and means "learned or pedantic"? The answer is …


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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