Meaning of TELEPHONE in English


I. tel ‧ e ‧ phone 1 S1 W2 /ˈteləfəʊn, ˈtelɪfəʊn $ -foʊn/ BrE AmE noun

[ Date: 1800-1900 ; Origin: tele- + Greek phone 'sound, voice' ]

1 . the telephone the system of communication that you use to have a conversation with someone in another place SYN phone

by telephone

Reservations can be made by telephone.

on the telephone

I’ve never met him, but I’ve spoken to him on the telephone.

over the telephone

I read the names out to him over the telephone.

down the telephone British English :

He shouted at me down the telephone.


In everyday English, people usually say phone rather than telephone :

She’s been on the phone all evening.

2 . [countable] the piece of equipment that you use when you are talking to someone by telephone SYN phone :

The telephone rang just as I was leaving.

She picked up the telephone and dialled a number.

I said goodbye and put down the telephone.

3 . be on the telephone

a) to be talking to someone, using the telephone:

I was on the telephone when he came in.

b) to have a telephone in your home, office etc

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meanings 1 & 2)

■ verbs

▪ a telephone rings

The telephone rang, but Tom didn’t answer it.

▪ answer the telephone

When I called the house, Mike answered the telephone.

▪ talk on the telephone

He was talking on the telephone when the doorbell rang.

▪ use the telephone

May I use your telephone?

▪ pick up the telephone

As soon as she got home, she picked up the telephone and dialled his number.

▪ put down the telephone

Before he could respond, she’d put down the telephone.

▪ call somebody on the telephone

Her son doesn’t even call her on the telephone.

■ telephone + NOUN

▪ a telephone call

She got a telephone call from Joe last night.

▪ a telephone conversation

We had a long telephone conversation.

▪ a telephone line

They didn’t even have a telephone line.


► Do not say ' get/have a telephone from somebody '. Say get/have a telephone call from somebody .

II. telephone 2 BrE AmE verb [intransitive and transitive]

British English formal to talk to someone by telephone SYN phone , call :

Sammy telephoned to say that he would be late.

I’ll telephone you later.

• • •


▪ phone to speak to someone by telephone. Phone is more common in British English than American English:

I’ll phone you tomorrow.

▪ call to phone someone. Call is used in both British and American English:

One of the neighbors called the police.


Call me later.

▪ ring British English spoken to phone someone. Ring is more informal than phone or call :

I can ring her at the office tomorrow.

▪ give somebody a call ( also give somebody a ring ) spoken to phone someone:

If you ever come to Seattle, give me a call.


I’ll give the hospital a ring and see how he is.

▪ telephone formal to phone someone:

Angry listeners telephoned the BBC to complain.

▪ Skype /skaɪp/ trademark to make a telephone call using special software that allows you to make calls over the Internet:

I Skyped her last night and we spoke for hours.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.