Definition of phone noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//fəʊn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//foʊn//
    Communication devices
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  1. 1  [uncountable, countable] a system for talking to somebody else over long distances using wires or radio; a machine used for this; a telephone I have to make a phone call. The phone rang and Pat answered it. They like to do business by phone/over the phone. His phone must be switched off. I hadn't got my phone with me. a phone bill British/​Americanphone / call / ringVerbs In British English, to phone, to ring and to call are the usual ways of saying to telephone. In North American English the most common word is call, but phone is also used. Speakers of North American English do not say ring. Telephone is very formal and is used mainly in British English.Nouns You can use call or phone call (more formal) in both British English and North American English:Were there any phone calls for me? How do I make a local call? The idiom give somebody a call is also common:I’ll give you a call tonight. In informal British English you could also say:I’ll give you a ring tonight. see also car phone, cell phone, Entryphone™, mobile phone, payphone, telephone Express YourselfLeaving a phone messageIf you phone someone who is not able to take your call, you may need to leave a message: Could I speak to Jay Black, please? Could you give him a message? Is there a time that might be good for me to try him again? Can you let him know I’ll call back? Could you ask him to call me back? My number is…
  2. 2  [countable] the part of a phone that you hold in your hand and speak into; a telephone to pick up the phone to put the phone down He left the phone off the hook as he didn't want to be disturbed. 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/​extension/​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 (British English) engaged/ (especially North American English) busy the phones have been (North American English) 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 landlineMobile/​cell phones be/​talk on a (both British English) mobile phone/​mobile/(especially North American English) cell phone/(informal, especially North American English) cell use/​answer/​call (somebody on)/get a message on your mobile phone/​mobile/​cell phone/​cell switch/​turn on/​off your mobile phone/​mobile/​cell phone/​cell charge/​recharge your mobile phone/​mobile/​cell phone/​cell a mobile/​cell phone is on/​is off/​rings/​goes off (British English) top up your mobile (phone) send/​receive a text (message)/an SMS (message)/a fax insert/​remove/​change a SIM card see also answerphone, telephone See related entries: Communication devices
  3. 3-phone (in nouns) an instrument that uses or makes sound dictaphone xylophone
  4. 4-phone (in adjectives and nouns) speaking a particular language; a person who does this anglophone francophone
  5. 5 (phonetics) a sound made in speech, especially when not considered as part of the sound system of a particular language compare phoneme
  6. Word Originnoun sense 5 mid 19th cent.: from Greek phōnē ‘sound, voice’.Extra examples Can you get the phone? Dad, you’re wanted on the phone. He called me on my mobile phone. He was called to the phone just as he was leaving. His phone is almost permanently engaged. I called his cell phone and then his home phone. I called his cell phone but no one answered. I couldn’t get through because you’d left the phone off the hook. I grabbed the phone and called Josie’s number. I haven’t seen her but we spoke over the phone. I hung up the phone when he started shouting at me. I picked up the phone receiver and pressed it to my ear. I think our phone is being tapped. I turned on my phone. I’ve lost my phone charger. If the phone rings, don’t answer it. My mobile phone went off during the movie. Please switch off all mobile phones. She cradled the phone between her ear and shoulder. She slammed the phone down in a rage. She waits by the phone all day but he doesn’t call. She was working a phone bank for the Democrats. She’s on the phone at the moment. The modem links the computer to a phone line. The phone suddenly went dead in the middle of our conversation. The phone was busy when I called. The phone was ringing off the hook. The search of the phone records yielded nothing. Vincent’s cell phone vibrated in his pocket. We keep in contact by phone but we rarely see each other. We spoke on the phone the other day. a £30 fine if caught holding a phone while driving the modern business of selling phone handsets He’s been on the phone to Kate for more than an hour. I have to make a phone call. They like to do business by phone/​over the phone.Idioms
    1. 1to be using the telephone He's been on the phone to Kate for more than an hour.
    2. 2(British English) to have a telephone in your home or place of work They're not on the phone at the holiday cottage.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: phone