Pronunciation: (dī'ul, dīl), [key]
n., v., di•aled, di•al•ing or (esp. Brit.) di•alled, di•al•ling,

1. a plate, disk, face, or other surface containing markings or figures upon which the time of day is indicated by hands, pointers, or shadows, as of a clock or sundial.
2. a plate or disk with markings or figures for indicating or registering some measurement or number, as of pressure, number of revolutions, the frequency to which a radio is tuned, etc., usually by means of a pointer.
3. a rotatable plate, disk, or knob used for regulating a mechanism, making and breaking electrical connections, etc., as in tuning a radio or television station in or out.
4. Also called rotary dial. a rotatable plate or disk on a telephone, fitted with finger holes that are marked with letters or numbers, used in making calls through an automatic switchboard.
5. any mechanism on the face of a telephone by which the caller places a call, as push buttons.
6. Also called miner's dial. Mining.a compass used for underground surveying.

1. to indicate or register on or as if on a dial.
2. to measure with or as if with a dial.
3. to regulate, select, or tune in by means of a dial, as on a radio: to dial my favorite program.
4. to make a telephone call to: Dial me at home.

1. to use a telephone dial; to dial a telephone: I keep dialing, but the line seems dead.
2. to tune in or regulate by means of a dial: to dial into the opera broadcast.
3. dial up, to obtain, reach, or contact by telephone: to dial up stock-market information; to dial up Chicago and do some business.

(of a telephone) having a rotary dial mechanism.


1. dialect.
2. dialectal.
3. dialectic.
4. dialectical.

Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.

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