telephone

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be on the phone

To be talking on the telephone. The boss is on the phone right now, but I can tell her you stopped by.
See also: on, phone

get on the (phone) extension

1. To begin talking to someone on the telephone. The boss just got on the extension, but I can tell her you stopped by. I need to get on the telephone extension
2. To ask someone else to speak to the caller or join in on the current telephone conversation. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "get" and "on." Get Ryan on the extension—he's the only one that can sort out this mess. OK, well, this irate customer is demanding that I get the CEO on the phone extension.
See also: extension, get, on

get onto the phone

To begin talking to someone on the telephone. The full word "telephone" can be used as well. The boss just got onto the phone, but I can tell her you stopped by. Holly gets onto the phone with her boyfriend as soon as she comes home from school every day—it's so annoying.
See also: get, phone

on the telephone

Currently using a telephone to talk to another person. Please be quiet! Can't you see I'm on the telephone? I was on the telephone for nearly three hours trying to get through to a customer service representative.
See also: on, telephone

play telephone tag

To engage in a series of telephone calls with another person in which each time one party calls, the other is not available to answer. Hi Mary, just leaving you another message. We've been playing a bit of telephone tag today, huh? Just give me a call back whenever you get this, thanks!
See also: play, tag, telephone

talk on the big white (tele)phone

slang To vomit profusely and at length into a toilet. He had a few too many shots of tequila and spent the rest of the night talking on the big white telephone. You're awfully pale, Charlie. You look like you need to talk on the big white phone.
See also: big, on, talk, white

talk to God on the big white (tele)phone

slang To vomit profusely and at length into a toilet. He had a few too many shots of tequila and spent the rest of the night talking to God on the big white telephone. You're awfully pale, Charlie. You look like you need to talk to God on the big white phone.
See also: big, god, on, talk, white

talk to Huey on the big white (tele)phone

slang To vomit profusely and at length into a toilet. "Huey" is slang for "vomit," likely as an onomatopoeia for the sound one makes when vomiting. He had a few too many shots of tequila and spent the rest of the night talking to Huey on the big white telephone. You're awfully pale, Charlie. You look like you need to talk to Huey on the big white phone.
See also: big, Huey, on, talk, white

talk to Hughie on the big white (tele)phone

slang To vomit profusely and at length into a toilet. "Hughie" is likely used as an onomatopoeia for the sound of someone retching. He had a few too many shots of tequila and spent the rest of the night talking to Hughie on the big white telephone. You're awfully pale, Charlie. You look like you need to talk to Hughie on the big white phone.
See also: big, Hughie, on, talk, white

talk to Ralph on the big white (tele)phone

slang To vomit profusely and at length into a toilet. "Ralph" is slang meaning "to vomit." He had a few too many shots of tequila and spent the rest of the night talking to Ralph on the big white telephone. You're awfully pale, Charlie. You look like you need to talk to Ralph on the big white phone.
See also: big, on, ralph, talk, white

telephone in

1. To call a specific location on the telephone, especially in order to relay or transmit certain information. A noun or pronoun can be used between "telephone" and "in" to specify the purpose or content of the call. We're encouraging our listeners to telephone in with their answers to our Sunday quiz. Please telephone your findings in as soon as possible.
2. To perform a role or duty in a halfhearted, disinterested, or unprofessional manner. More commonly shortened to "phone in." A noun or pronoun can be used between "telephone" and "in." Everyone telephones it in on the morning after a staff party. I'm sure he got a good paycheck for the voiceover, so you'd think he could do better than telephoning in his performance
See also: telephone

telephone into (some place)

To call a specific location on the telephone, especially in order to relay or transmit certain information. A noun or pronoun can be used between "telephone" and "in" to specify the purpose or content of the call. We're encouraging our listeners to telephone into the station with their answers to our Sunday quiz. Please telephone your findings into the main office as soon as possible.
See also: telephone

telephone tag

A series of telephone calls made between two people in which each time one party calls, the other is not available to answer. Hi Mary, just leaving you another message. We've had a bit of telephone tag today, huh? Just give me a call back whenever you get this, thanks!
See also: tag, telephone

Who do you want?

With whom do you wish to speak? (Usually asked on the telephone.) A: "I'd like to speak to your manager, please." B: "There are a few different managers here. Who do you want?" A: "I need to ask one of your employees a few questions about yesterday's incident." B: "Sure thing. Who do you want?"
See also: who

*on the telephone

 and *on the phone
Fig. speaking on the telephone. (*Typically: be ~; get ~.) She's on the phone but won't be long. Please take a seat while I'm on the phone. Get on the phone and call him back immediately!
See also: on, telephone

telephone something in (to someone)

to call someone on the telephone, usually to give particular information. (The person called is in a special location, such as one's workplace or headquarters.) I will telephone my report in to my secretary. I telephoned in my report. I will telephone it in tomorrow.
See also: telephone

Who do you want?

 and Who do you want to talk to?; Who do you want to speak to?; Who do you wish to speak to?; Who do you wish to talk to?
Who do you want to speak to over the telephone? (All these questions can also begin with whom. Compare this with With whom do you wish to speak?) Sue: Wilson residence. Who do you want to speak to? Bill: Hi, Sue. I want to talk to you. Tom (answering the phone): Hello? Sue: Hello, who is this? Tom: Who do you wish to speak to? Sue: Is Sally there? Tom: Just a minute.
See also: who

be on the ˈtelephone/ˈphone


1 be using the telephone: Mr Perkins is on the telephone but he’ll be with you in a moment.You’re wanted (= somebody wants to speak to you) on the telephone.
2 (British English) have a telephone in your home or place of work: They live on a small island and are not on the phone.
See also: on, phone, telephone