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[fohn] /foʊn/
noun, verb (used with or without object), phoned, phoning.
Origin of phone1
1880-85; by shortening


[fohn] /foʊn/
noun, Phonetics.
a speech sound: There are three phonetically different “t” phones in an utterance of “titillate,” and two in an utterance of “tattletale.”.
Compare allophone, phoneme.
1865-70; < Greek phōnḗ voice
Related forms
phonal, adjective


a combining form meaning “speech sound” (homophone), “an instrument of sound transmission or reproduction” (telephone), “a musical instrument” (saxophone; xylophone).
see phone2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for phone
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Asked me if I could get you to the 'phone without any trouble.

    The Woman-Haters Joseph C. Lincoln
  • You have seen the Greek word "phone," which means the voice, before.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • "I had a call from him on the 'phone an hour ago," he answered.

    Destiny Charles Neville Buck
  • His reason for wanting to see me, he said, he'd rather not give me over the 'phone.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • I didn't know that you—that is, you never said—oh, come up to the house, please—I can't say what I want to over the 'phone.

    Options O. Henry
British Dictionary definitions for phone


noun, verb
short for telephone


(phonetics) a single uncomplicated speech sound
Word Origin
C19: from Greek phōnē sound, voice


combining form
(forming nouns) indicating voice, sound, or a device giving off sound: microphone, telephone
(forming nouns and adjectives) (a person) speaking a particular language: Francophone
Derived Forms
-phonic, combining_form:in_adjective
Word Origin
from Greek phōnē voice, sound
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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Word Origin and History for phone

1884, shortening of telephone (n.). Phone book first recorded 1925; phone booth 1927; phone bill 1901.

"elementary sound of a spoken language," 1866, from Greek phone (see fame (n.)).


1884, from phone (n.). Related: Phoned; phoning.


word-forming element meaning "voice, sound," also "speaker of," from Greek phone "voice, sound," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, say, tell" (cf. Latin for, fari "to speak," fama "talk, report;" see fame (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for phone


Related Terms

flip phone, hold the phone

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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