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dial tone

(in a telephone) a tone that indicates the line is ready for dialing.
Origin of dial tone
1890-95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dial tone
  • Phone shopping is more complicated than it was in the days when a dial tone was all you needed.
  • Barely a decade after cellular phones arrived, cellular channels are so crowded that a dial tone is a scarce resource.
  • He liked to tell people how everyone in the company was amazed to pick up a handset and actually get a dial tone.
  • He ended the conversation by simply hanging up the phone, which went to a dial tone.
  • Half of the time, my modem couldn't even detect the phone system's faint, burring dial tone.
  • It affords limited price regulation over the monthly rate for the basic dial tone line and usage.
  • Depress switch-hook momentarily and upon hearing a recall dial tone, dial extension number.
  • If you hear dial tone on your telephone then this sound indicates the regulated portion of your phone line is working properly.
  • Residential caps are in addition to dial tone rates.
  • If you hear a dial tone, the trouble is after this point and therefore on your side of the network interface.
British Dictionary definitions for dial tone

dialling tone

a continuous sound, either purring or high-pitched, heard over a telephone indicating that a number can be dialled Compare ringing tone, 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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