Etymology
Advertisement
telephone (v.)

1878, from telephone (n.). Related: Telephoned; telephoning.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
telephone (n.)

1835, "system for conveying words over distance by musical notes" (devised in 1828 by French composer Jean-François Sudré (1787-1862); each tone played over several octaves represented a letter of the alphabet), from French téléphone (c. 1830), from télé- "far" (see tele-) + phōnē "sound, voice," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say." Sudré's system never proved practical. Also used of other apparatus early 19c., including "instrument similar to a foghorn for signaling from ship to ship" (1844). The electrical communication tool was first described in modern form by Philip Reis (1861); developed by Scottish-born inventor Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) and so called by him from 1876.

Related entries & more 
radio-telephone (n.)

"telephone link through which the signal is transmitted partly by radio," 1900, from radio (n.) + telephone (n.).

Related entries & more 
headphone (n.)

1887, from head (n.) + second element extracted from telephone (n.). Related: Headphones.

Related entries & more 
telemarketing (n.)

1970, from telephone (n.) + marketing. Related: Telemarketer (1984).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
telephony (n.)

1835, "a system of signaling by musical sounds;" from 1876 as "the art of working a telephone;" see telephone (n.) + -y (4). Related: Telephonist.

Related entries & more 
telephonic (adj.)

1830, "pertaining to communication by sound over great distances," originally theoretical, from tele- + phonic. From 1834 in reference to the system of Sudré using musical sounds (see telephone), and with reference to Bell's invention from 1876, in which cases it can be taken as from telephone + -ic.

Related entries & more 
phone (n.1)

by 1878 [Des Moines Register, May 16], colloquial shortening of telephone (n.), "generally applied to the receiver, but sometimes to the whole apparatus" [Century Dictionary, 1895]. Phone book "publication listing telephone numbers and their associated names" is by 1920; phone booth "small enclosure or stall provided with a public pay-telephone" is by 1906; phone bill "statement of charges for telephone service" is by 1901; phone number (short for telephone number) is by 1906.

Related entries & more 
*kwel- (2)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "far" (in space or time). Some sources connect this root with *kwel- (1), forming words to do with turning, via the notion of "completion of a cycle."

It forms all or part of: paleo-; tele-; teleconference; telegony; telegraph; telegram; telekinesis; Telemachus; telemeter; telepathy; telephone; telescope; television.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit caramah "the last;" Greek tele "far off, afar, at or to a distance," palaios "old, ancient," palai "long ago, far back;" Breton pell "far off," Welsh pellaf "uttermost."

Related entries & more 
*bha- (2)

*bhā-; Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to speak, tell, say."

It forms all or part of: abandon; affable; anthem; antiphon; aphasia; aphonia; aphonic; apophasis; apophatic; ban (n.1) "proclamation or edict;" ban (v.); banal; bandit; banish; banlieue; banns (n.); bifarious; blame; blaspheme; blasphemy; boon (n.); cacophony; confess; contraband; defame; dysphemism; euphemism; euphony; fable; fabulous; fado; fairy; fame; famous; fandango; fatal; fate; fateful; fatuous; fay; gramophone; heterophemy; homophone; ineffable; infamous; infamy; infant; infantile; infantry; mauvais; megaphone; microphone; monophonic; nefandous; nefarious; phatic; -phone; phone (n.2) "elementary sound of a spoken language;" phoneme; phonetic; phonic; phonics; phono-; pheme; -phemia; Polyphemus; polyphony; preface; profess; profession; professional; professor; prophecy; prophet; prophetic; quadraphonic; symphony; telephone; xylophone.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Greek pheme "speech, voice, utterance, a speaking, talk," phōnē "voice, sound" of a human or animal, also "tone, voice, pronunciation, speech," phanai "to speak;" Sanskrit bhanati "speaks;" Latin fari "to say," fabula "narrative, account, tale, story," fama "talk, rumor, report; reputation, public opinion; renown, reputation;" Armenian ban, bay "word, term;" Old Church Slavonic bajati "to talk, tell;" Old English boian "to boast," ben "prayer, request;" Old Irish bann "law."

Related entries & more