[ tel-i-graf, -grahf ]
/ ˈtɛl ɪˌgræf, -ˌgrɑf /


an apparatus, system, or process for transmitting messages or signals to a distant place, especially by means of an electric device consisting essentially of a sending instrument and a distant receiving instrument connected by a conducting wire or other communications channel.
Nautical. an apparatus, usually mechanical, for transmitting and receiving orders between the bridge of a ship and the engine room or some other part of the engineering department.
a telegraphic message.

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to send a message by telegraph.

Origin of telegraph

< French télégraphe (1792) a kind of manual signaling device; see tele-1, -graph

Related forms

te·leg·ra·pher [tuh-leg-ruh-fer] /təˈlɛg rə fər/; especially British, te·leg·ra·phist, nounpre·tel·e·graph, adjectivere·tel·e·graph, verbun·tel·e·graphed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for telegraph

British Dictionary definitions for telegraph


/ (ˈtɛlɪˌɡræf, -ˌɡrɑːf) /


  1. a device, system, or process by which information can be transmitted over a distance, esp using radio signals or coded electrical signals sent along a transmission line connected to a transmitting and a receiving instrument
  2. (as modifier)telegraph pole
a message transmitted by such a device, system, or process; telegram


Derived Forms

telegraphist (tɪˈlɛɡrəfɪst) or telegrapher, noun
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

Science definitions for telegraph


[ tĕlĭ-grăf′ ]

A communications system in which a message in the form of short, rapid electric impulses is sent, either by wire or radio, to a receiving station. Morse code is often used to encode messages in a form that is easily transmitted through electric impulses.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.