American English

Definition of telephone noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable, uncountable] a system for talking to someone else over long distances, using wires or radio; a machine used for this The telephone rang and Pat answered it. You can reserve seats over the telephone. I need to make a telephone call. telephone lines/networks/services Topic CollocationsPhonesmaking and receiving phone calls the phone/telephone rings answer/pick up/hang up the phone/telephone lift/pick up/hold/replace the receiver dial a phone number/an extension number/a wrong number/an area code call somebody/talk (to somebody)/speak (to somebody) on the phone/telephone; from home/work/the office make/get/receive a phone call take the phone off the hook (= remove the receiver so that the phone does not ring) the line is busy the phones have been ringing off the hook (= ringing frequently) put somebody through/get through to the person you want to speak to put somebody on hold (= so that they must wait for the person they want to speak to) call from/use a landlinecell phones be/talk on a cell phone/ (informal) cell use/answer/call (somebody on)/get a message on your cell phone/cell switch/turn on/off your cell phone/cell charge/recharge your cell phone/cell a cell phone is on/is off/rings/goes off/is on vibrate/is on silent/is in silent mode send/receive a text (message)/a picture message insert/remove/change a SIM card
  2. 2[countable] the part of the telephone that you hold in your hand and speak into synonym handset, receiver see also phone
  3. Idioms
    be on the telephone
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    to be using the telephone He's on the telephone at the moment. You're wanted (= someone wants to speak to you) on the telephone.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: telephone