telephone

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Related to telephones: Cell phones

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

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

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

*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
References in classic literature ?
The third Bell, the only one of this remarkable family who concerns us at this time, was a young man, barely twenty-eight, at the time when his ear caught the first cry of the telephone.
But it gave him at least a starting-point, and he forthwith commenced his quest of the telephone.
It seemed almost probable that the tragic end of our talk over the telephone had been caused by the sudden arrival and as sudden violence of Barney Maguire.
I should judge it about time to telephone for the police.
Next day I went up to the telephone office and found that the king had passed through two towns that were on the line.
The room was large, and sombre with dark woods and hangings like the hall; but through the west window the sun threw a long shaft of gold across the floor, gleamed dully on the tarnished brass andirons in the fireplace, and touched the nickel of the telephone on the great desk in the middle of the room.
The telephone card was not on its hook; it was on the floor.
Tell her that she must arise and slip something about her and come to the telephone.
Across the room from him Tarzan saw Olga seated before a little desk on which stood her telephone.
she seized the telephone receiver and gave her number.
Mary crossed to the telephone and, after a series of brief remarks, announced:
By nine o'clock his telephone began to ring and the reports to come in.
At the end of the second week the overwrought head appealed passionately for relief, and Owen was removed to the Postage Department, where, when he had leisure from answering Audrey's telephone calls, he entered the addresses of letters in a large book and took them to the post.
One morning, receiving from one of the bank messengers the usual intimation that a lady wished to speak to him on the telephone, he went to the box and took up the receiver.
It certainly is a strange coincidence," he added, speaking in an aside to Ned while he himself still listened to what was being told to him over the telephone wire.