Etymology
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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.

phone (v.)

"to call on the telephone," 1884, colloquial, from phone (n.). Related: Phoned; phoning.

phone (n.2)

"elementary sound of a spoken language, one of the primary elements of utterance," 1866, from Greek phōnē "sound, voice" (from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say").

updated on December 11, 2020

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