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



    BrE BrE//ˈtelɪfəʊn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈtelɪfoʊn//
    House equipment
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  1. 1  [countable, uncountable] a system for talking to somebody 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 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
  2. 2  [countable] the part of the telephone that you hold in your hand and speak into synonym handset, receiver see also phone See related entries: House equipment
  3. Extra examples All letters should include an address and a daytime telephone number. Can I get in touch by telephone? Can I use your telephone? Don’t pester me now—I’m on the telephone. Excuse me, do you have a telephone? Hang on—I’ll just get the telephone. He was called to the telephone just as he was leaving. I don’t want to talk about this over the telephone. I’ve been trying to phone him all day—he must have left his telephone off the hook. She is in telephone contact with headquarters. She put down the telephone and burst into tears. She sounded very distant on the telephone. The charity has set up a 24-hour telephone helpline. The office telephones were all out of order. The telephone shrilled into the silence. The telephone was ringing furiously. The waiter came to tell me I was wanted on the telephone. We’re not on the telephone, so you’ll have to come round to the house. He’s on the telephone at the moment. I need to make a telephone call. You’re wanted on the telephone. telephone lines/​networks/​servicesIdioms
    1. 1to be using the telephone He's on the telephone at the moment. You're wanted (= somebody wants to speak to you) on the telephone. See related entries: Making calls
    2. 2(British English) to have a telephone in your home or place of work We're not on the telephone at the cottage. See related entries: Making calls
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: telephone