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Telephone Terms

Here are some of the words and terms that we use to talk about telephoning.

answer to say "hello" into the phone when it rings
answering machine something that you can record a message on if the person you are calling isn't home
busy signal a beeping sound that tells the caller that the other person is already on the phone with someone else
call a telephone conversation; to telephone
caller the person who telephones
call back/phone back to call someone who called you first
call display a screen that shows you who is calling
cellular phone/cell phone a telephone that you can take with you away from your house; mobile phone
cordless phone a phone that is not attached to the wall (you can walk short distances with it at home or in the garden)
dial to press the buttons on the phone
dial tone the sound the phone makes when you pick it up
directory/phone book a book that alphabetically lists local phone numbers of people and businesses
hang up to put the receiver down and end a call
operator a person who answers telephone-related questions when you dial "0"
pager a small machine you wear that makes a noise (or vibrates) when someone wants you to call them
phone a telephone; to telephone
phone booth/pay phone a place where you can pay to use a telephone in public
pick up to answer the phone
receiver the piece on the phone that you speak into and listen from
ring the sound a phone makes when somebody calls; to make that sound
ringer the sound-piece that alerts a person that a call is coming through

Telephone Language >>

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