an apparatus, system, or process for transmission of sound or speech to a distant point, especially by an electric device.
verb (used with object), telephoned, telephoning.
to speak to or summon (a person) by telephone.
to send (a message) by telephone.
verb (used without object), telephoned, telephoning.
to send a message by telephone.
Also, phone.

1825–35; tele-1 + -phone

telephoner, noun
pretelephone, adjective
retelephone, verb, retelephoned, retelephoning. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
telephone (ˈtɛlɪˌfəʊn)
1.  a.  Also called: telephone set an electrical device for transmitting speech, consisting of a microphone and receiver mounted on a handset
 b.  (as modifier): a telephone receiver
2.  a.  a worldwide system of communications using telephones. The microphone in one telephone converts sound waves into electrical signals that are transmitted along a telephone wire or by radio to one or more distant sets, the receivers of which reconvert the incoming signal into the original sound
 b.  (as modifier): a telephone exchange; a telephone call
3.  See telephone box
4.  to call or talk to (a person) by telephone
5.  to transmit (a recorded message, radio or television programme, or other information) by telephone, using special transmitting and receiving equipment

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1835, "apparatus for signaling by musical notes" (devised by Sudré in 1828), from Fr. téléphone (c.1830), from télé- "far" (see tele-) + phone "sound" (see fame). Also used of other apparatus early 19c., including
"instrument similar to a foghorn for signaling from ship to ship" (1844). The electrical communication tool was first described in modern form by P.Reis (1861); developed by Bell, and so called by him from 1876. The verb is attested from 1878.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


instrument designed for simultaneous two-way voice communication and the technological system through which it is employed. It is a central part of modern telecommunication.

Learn more about telephone with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The country's telephone service, however, is another matter.
For telephone companies, the shift to mobility has changed the composition of
  their revenues.
Please include name, address, and daytime telephone.
Telephone receivers at listening stations offer recorded narration about the
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