[ tel-i-graf, -grahf ]
See synonyms for: telegraphtelegraphedtelegraphing on

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  1. a message sent by telegraph; a telegram.

verb (used with object)
  1. to transmit or send (a message) by telegraph.

  2. to send a message to (a person) by telegraph.

  1. Informal. to divulge or indicate unwittingly (one's intention, next offensive move, etc.), as to an opponent or to an audience; broadcast: The fighter telegraphed his punch and his opponent was able to parry it. If you act nervous too early in the scene, you'll telegraph the character's guilt.

verb (used without object)
  1. to send a message by telegraph.

Origin of telegraph

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

Other words from telegraph

  • te·leg·ra·pher [tuh-leg-ruh-fer] /təˈlɛg rə fər/ especially British, te·leg·ra·phist, noun
  • pre·tel·e·graph, adjective
  • re·tel·e·graph, verb
  • un·tel·e·graphed, adjective

Words Nearby telegraph Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use telegraph in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for telegraph


/ (ˈtɛlɪˌɡræf, -ˌɡrɑːf) /

    • 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

    • (as modifier): telegraph pole

  1. a message transmitted by such a device, system, or process; telegram

  1. to send a telegram to (a person or place); wire

  2. (tr) to transmit or send by telegraph

  1. (tr) boxing informal to prepare to deliver (a punch) so obviously that one's opponent has ample time to avoid it

  2. (tr) to give advance notice of (anything), esp unintentionally

  3. (tr) Canadian informal to cast (votes) illegally by impersonating registered voters

Derived forms of telegraph

  • 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

Scientific definitions for telegraph


[ tĕlĭ-grăf′ ]

  1. 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.