telephone

1 noun
1 the telephone the system of communication that you use to have a conversation with someone in another place; phone 1 (1): The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell. | a telephone conversation | by telephone: Reservations can be made by telephone.
2 (C) the piece of equipment that you use when you are speaking to someone by telephone; phone 1 (2): The telephone is ringing. | the cost of installing telephones
3 be on the telephone
a) to be talking to someone using the telephone: I was on the telephone when he came in.
b) to have a telephone in your home, office etc
4 (C) the part of a telephone that you hold close to your ear and mouth; receiver (1)
— telephonic, adjective USAGE NOTE: TELEPHONE WORD CHOICE: words related to the telephone Telephone can be used as a noun or a verb, as can the short form phone, which is four times more common in spoken English. If someone phones you, you have or receive a call (NOT a telephone) from them. If you want to phone a friend or call them (or ring them (up) (BrE), give them a ring (BrE) /call), you dial their (phone) number. If you are phoning long distance, you will need to dial the code (BrE)/ area code (AmE) (=number) for the region or country where they live, as well as their local number. All these numbers are found in the phone book or directory (BrE), or by phoning directory enquiries (BrE)/ information (AmE).). If you have a problem getting through to the person you are phoning, you may ring the operator for help. When you phone someone, their phone will ring, and if they are at home they will answer by picking up the phone (or technically the receiver, or on cordless phones the handset). If they are busy they may ask you to phone/call/ring back later or to hold on, or more officially and in American English hold (=wait). If they do not want to speak to you, or have finished speaking to you, they may hang up (=replace the receiver or switch off the handset). If someone is already on the phone when you call them, their number is engaged (BrE)/ busy (AmE). If someone does not want to received any calls, they may leave their phone off the hook (=the receiver is not in its proper place) so that no calls will get through. A telephone in a public place is a public phone or payphone, often placed in a phone/call box (BrE) or phone booth (AmE). GRAMMAR You (tele)phone a place or a person, NOT to them: Please phone Mary/the hospital. But you often speak of being on the phone to someone. 2 verb (I, T) BrE formal to speak to someone by telephone; phone 2: Mr Dodd telephoned to say he was ill.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

Look at other dictionaries:

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