telegraph

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See also: Telegraph

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From French télégraphe, equivalent to tele- (far, distant) +‎ graph (writing), suggested as a new name for Claude Chappe's overland semaphore network by André François Miot de Mélito in place of Chappe's original tachygraphe (tachygraph, fast writer).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈtɛl.ə.ɡɹæf/, /ˈtɛl.ɪ.ɡɹæf/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɑːf
  • Hyphenation: tel‧e‧graph

Noun[edit]

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telegraph (plural telegraphs)

  1. (uncommon) Synonym of telegraphy, any process for transmitting arbitrarily long messages over a long distance using a symbolic code.
    This strict sense of telegraph developed from French usage for Napoleon's overland semaphore network but rather arbitrarily excludes similar Chinese and other signalling networks.
  2. (chiefly historical) The electrical device gradually developed in the early 19th century to transmit messages using Morse code; the entire system used to transmit its messages including overhead lines and transoceanic cables.
    • 1920, Mary Roberts Rinehart; Avery Hopwood, chapter I, in The Bat: A Novel from the Play (Dell Book; 241), New York, N.Y.: Dell Publishing Company, OCLC 20230794, page 01:
      The Bat—they called him the Bat. []. He [] played a lone hand, []. Most lone wolves had a moll at any rate—women were their ruin—but if the Bat had a moll, not even the grapevine telegraph could locate her.
    • 1941, George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius/Part I
      The middle-class families celebrated by Kipling, the prolific lowbrow families whose sons officered the army and navy and swarmed over all the waste places of the earth from the Yukon to the Irrawaddy, were dwindling before 1914. The thing that had killed them was the telegraph. In a narrowing world, more and more governed from Whitehall, there was every year less room for individual initiative... By 1920 nearly every inch of the colonial empire was in the grip of Whitehall. Well-meaning, over-civilized men, in dark suits and black felt hats, with neatly rolled umbrellas crooked over the left forearm, were imposing their constipated view of life on Malaya and Nigeria, Mombasa and Mandalay.
    The first message transmitted by telegraph in the United States was WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT.
  3. (video games) A visible or audible cue that indicates to an opponent the action that a character is about to take.

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Verb[edit]

telegraph (third-person singular simple present telegraphs, present participle telegraphing, simple past and past participle telegraphed)

  1. To use a telegraph.
  2. (figuratively) To clearly communicate to another nonverbally, whether by gesture, a change in attitude, or any other sign, especially unintentionally.
    Her frown telegraphed her displeasure.
    • 2007, James A. Rozhon, The Man in the Maze
      He took a jab and telegraphed his punch so loudly that I was able to land a solid right hand to his stomach.

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