• synonyms


See more synonyms for telegram on Thesaurus.com
  1. a message or communication sent by telegraph; a telegraphic dispatch.
Show More
verb (used with or without object), tel·e·grammed, tel·e·gram·ming.
  1. to telegraph.
Show More

Origin of telegram

An Americanism dating back to 1850–55; tele-1 + -gram1
Related formstel·e·gram·mic, tel·e·gram·ma·tic [tel-i-gruh-mat-ik] /ˌtɛl ɪ grəˈmæt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


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.


    William J. Locke

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


    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.

British Dictionary definitions for telegram


  1. a communication transmitted by telegraphSee also cable (def. 5), Telemessage
Show More
Derived Formstelegrammatic (ˌtɛlɪɡrəˈmætɪk) or 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

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]
Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper