[ fohn ]
/ foʊn /


a portable electronic telephone device, as a cell phone, mobile phone, or smartphone.

verb (used with object), phoned, phon·ing.

to speak to or summon (a person) by telephone.
to send (a message) by telephone.

verb (used without object), phoned, phon·ing.

to send a message by telephone.

Nearby words

  1. phonasthenia,
  2. phonate,
  3. phonathon,
  4. phonation,
  5. phonatory,
  6. phone book,
  7. phone card,
  8. phone hacking,
  9. phone in,
  10. phone phreak

Origin of phone

First recorded in 1880–85; by shortening


[ fohn ]
/ foʊn /

noun Phonetics.

a speech sound: There are three phonetically different “t” phones in an utterance of “titillate,” and two in an utterance of “tattletale.”
Compare allophone, phoneme.

Origin of phone

First recorded in 1865–70, phone is from the Greek word phōnḗ voice

Related formspho·nal, adjective


a combining form meaning “speech sound” (homophone), “an instrument of sound transmission or reproduction” (telephone), “a musical instrument” (saxophone; xylophone).

Origin of -phone

see origin at phone2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for phone

British Dictionary definitions for phone


/ (fəʊn) /

noun, verb

short for telephone


phonetics a single uncomplicated speech sound

Word Origin for phone

C19: from Greek phōnē sound, voice


combining form

(forming nouns) indicating voice, sound, or a device giving off soundmicrophone; telephone
(forming nouns and adjectives) (a person) speaking a particular languageFrancophone
Derived Forms-phonic, adj combining form

Word Origin for -phone

from Greek phōnē voice, sound

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

Word Origin and History for phone
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper