[ tel-uh-fohn ]
/ ˈtɛl əˌfoʊn /


an apparatus, system, or process for transmission of sound or speech to a distant point, especially by an electric device.

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

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

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

to send a message by telephone.
Also phone.

Origin of telephone

First recorded in 1825–35; tele-1 + -phone


tel·e·phon·er, nounpre·tel·e·phone, adjectivere·tel·e·phone, verb, re·tel·e·phoned, re·tel·e·phon·ing. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for telephone

British Dictionary definitions for telephone

/ (ˈtɛlɪˌfəʊn) /


  1. Also called: telephone set an electrical device for transmitting speech, consisting of a microphone and receiver mounted on a handset
  2. (as modifier)a telephone receiver
  1. a worldwide system of communications using telephones. The microphone in one telephone converts sound waves into electrical signals that are transmitted along a telephone wire or by radio to one or more distant sets, the receivers of which reconvert the incoming signal into the original sound
  2. (as modifier)a telephone exchange; a telephone call


to call or talk to (a person) by telephone
to transmit (a recorded message, radio or television programme, or other information) by telephone, using special transmitting and receiving equipment
Often shortened to: phone

Derived forms of telephone

telephoner, nountelephonic (ˌtɛlɪˈfɒnɪk), adjectivetelephonically, adverb
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