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busy signal

Telephony. a regular succession of buzzing tones transmitted to a caller to indicate that the circuit serving the number is blocked or in use, rapid repetition indicating that the network is blocked and normal repetition that the telephone being called is in use.
Origin of busy signal
1890-95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for busy signal
  • Other customers trying to connect will hear a busy signal instead of being able complete their calls.
  • If you hear continuous ringing or a busy signal, try your call later.
  • If you get a busy signal, please be patient and call again later.
  • Each of her calls to the school were met with a busy signal or an unreturned call.
  • If you receive a busy signal it means all lines are occupied.
  • Often the failure to connect may be similar to a busy signal on the telephone, ie, all the lines at that address are busy.
British Dictionary definitions for busy signal

busy signal

(US & Canadian) a repeated single note heard on a telephone when the number called is already in use Also called (especially in Britain) engaged tone
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
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