See more synonyms for phone on
verb (used with object), phoned, phon·ing.
  1. to speak to or summon (a person) by telephone.
  2. to send (a message) by telephone.
verb (used without object), phoned, phon·ing.
  1. to send a message by telephone.

Origin of phone

First recorded in 1880–85; by shortening


noun Phonetics.
  1. 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


  1. 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. 2018

Related Words for phone

dial, contact, ring, call, buzz

Examples from the Web for phone

Contemporary Examples of phone

Historical Examples of phone

British Dictionary definitions for phone


noun, verb
  1. short for telephone


  1. phonetics a single uncomplicated speech sound

Word Origin for phone

C19: from Greek phōnē sound, voice


combining form
  1. (forming nouns) indicating voice, sound, or a device giving off soundmicrophone; telephone
  2. (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

1884, shortening of telephone (n.). Phone book first recorded 1925; phone booth 1927; phone bill 1901.


1884, from phone (n.). Related: Phoned; phoning.


"elementary sound of a spoken language," 1866, from Greek phone (see fame (n.)).


word-forming element meaning "voice, sound," also "speaker of," from Greek phone "voice, sound," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, say, tell" (cf. Latin for, fari "to speak," fama "talk, report;" see fame (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper