Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to telephone: telephone service
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!
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!
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.
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.
*on the telephoneand *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!
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.