1. 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.

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

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

  1. to send a message by telephone.


    1. Also called: telephone setan 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
  1. See telephone box


  1. to call or talk to (a person) by telephone
  2. to transmit (a recorded message, radio or television programme, or other information) by telephone, using special transmitting and receiving equipment

v.1878, from telephone (n.). Related: Telephoned; telephoning. n.1835, “apparatus for signaling by musical notes” (devised by Sudré in 1828), from French téléphone (c.1830), from télé- “far” (see tele-) + phone “sound” (see fame (n.)). Also used of other apparatus early 19c., including “instrument similar to a foghorn for signaling from ship to ship” (1844). The electrical communication tool was first described in modern form by P.Reis (1861); developed by Bell, and so called by him from 1876.

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