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See also: Dial and dial.


Detail of a dial (graduated circular scale with a needle)


Its original meaning was 'sundial' and/or 'clock dial', from Latin diālis (daily, concerning the day), because of its use in telling the time of day.



dial (plural dials)

A dial (disk with finger holes) on a Swiss telephone
  1. A graduated, circular scale over which a needle moves to show a measurement (such as speed).
  2. A clock face.
  3. A sundial.
  4. A panel on a radio etc showing wavelengths or channels; a knob that is turned to change the wavelength etc.
  5. A disk with finger holes on a telephone; used to select the number to be called.
  6. (Britain, dated) A person's face.
    • 1960: At the sound of the old familiar voice he spun around with something of the agility of a cat on hot bricks, and I saw that his dial, usually cheerful, was contorted with anguish, as if he had swallowed a bad oyster. (P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter IX)
  7. A miner's compass.


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


dial (third-person singular simple present dials, present participle (US) dialing or dialling, simple past and past participle (US) dialed or dialled)

  1. (transitive) To measure or indicate something with a dial.
  2. (transitive) To control or select something with a dial
  3. (transitive) To select a number, or to call someone, on a telephone.
  4. (intransitive) To use a dial or a telephone.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Dialing and dialed are more common in the US. Dialling and dialled are more common in the UK.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]





dial m (plural diales)

  1. dial



Cognate with Cornish dyal and Old Irish dígal.



dial m (plural dialau or dialon)

  1. revenge


Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
dial ddial nial unchanged
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.


  • dial”, in Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru Online (in Welsh), University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies, 2014