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[tel-i-gram] /ˈtɛl ɪˌgræm/
a message or communication sent by telegraph; a telegraphic dispatch.
verb (used with or without object), telegrammed, telegramming.
to telegraph.
Origin of telegram
An Americanism dating back to 1850-55; tele-1 + -gram1
Related forms
telegrammic, telegrammatic
[tel-i-gruh-mat-ik] /ˌtɛl ɪ grəˈmæt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for telegram
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That telegram from Coplen is concernin' of a lady—a party that was with him when he died.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Your sudden departure needs no other explanation to the household than this telegram.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • And what I overheard in the armoury--about a telegram--telling me--putting me out of my misery?

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • She had thought of sending a telegram, but saw that that might do mischief.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • But when I reached the office, there lay on my desk a telegram.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
British Dictionary definitions for telegram


a communication transmitted by telegraph See also cable (sense 5), Telemessage
Derived Forms
telegrammatic (ˌtɛlɪɡrəˈmætɪk), telegrammic, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for telegram

"telegraphic dispatch," 1852, coined by E.P. Smith of Rochester, N.Y., from tele-, as in telegraph + -gram, and introduced in the Albany "Evening Journal" of April 6, 1852. Purists pointed out that this is an erroneous formation, and the correct word would be telegrapheme (which is close to the Modern Greek word).

May I suggest to such as are not contented with 'Telegraphic Dispatch' the rightly constructed word 'telegrapheme'? I do not want it, but ... I protest against such a barbarism as 'telegram.' [Richard Shilleto, Cambridge Greek scholar, in the London "Times," Oct. 15, 1857]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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