Tel·e·phone n. Physics An instrument for reproducing sounds, especially articulate speech, at a distance.
Note: ☞ The ordinary telephone consists essentially of a device by which currents of electricity, produced by sounds through the agency of certain mechanical devices and exactly corresponding in duration and intensity to the vibrations of the air which attend them, are transmitted to a distant station, and there, acting on suitable mechanism, reproduce similar sounds by repeating the vibrations. The necessary variations in the electrical currents are usually produced by means of a microphone attached to a thin diaphragm upon which the voice acts, and are intensified by means of an induction coil. In the magnetic telephone, or magneto-telephone, the diaphragm is of soft iron placed close to the pole of a magnet upon which is wound a coil of fine wire, and its vibrations produce corresponding vibrable currents in the wire by induction. The mechanical, or string, telephone is a device in which the voice or sound causes vibrations in a thin diaphragm, which are directly transmitted along a wire or string connecting it to a similar diaphragm at the remote station, thus reproducing the sound. It does not employ electricity.
Tel·e·phone, v. t. To convey or announce by telephone.
n 1: electronic equipment that converts sound into electrical
signals that can be transmitted over distances and then
converts received signals back into sounds; "I talked to
him on the telephone" [syn: phone, telephone set]
2: transmitting speech at a distance [syn: telephony]
v : get or try to get into communication (with someone) by
telephone; "I tried to call you all night"; "Take two
aspirin and call me in the morning" [syn: call, call
up, phone, ring]