busy-signal

busy signal

noun
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:
1890–95

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
busy signal
 
n
(US), (Canadian) Also called (especially in Britain): engaged tone a repeated single note heard on a telephone when the number called is already in use

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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