dial

Definitions

General English

General Science

  • noun the face of an instrument showing a scale

Cars & Driving

  • noun the usually circular face of a measuring instrument such as a gauge or speedometer

Electronics

  • A face with a graduated scale upon which a pointer or other indicator specifies the level a varying quantity is at. For example, a thermometer dial. Such a dial may also be virtual, such as that displayed on a computer monitor.
  • A face with a graduated scale upon which a pointer or other indicator specifies the level to which a variable control is set. For instance, a radio dial. Such a dial may also be virtual, such as that displayed on some audio receivers.
  • A device on a telephone which generates signals which are utilized to place calls. Also called telephone dial.
  • The action of using a dial (3) to place a telephone call.

Information & Library Science

  • verb to use a series of numbers to make a telephone connection

Media Studies

  • noun a round control disc that is turned with the fingers to adjust a piece of electrical or mechanical equipment such as a radio
  • noun a panel on a radio with a movable pointer that shows the frequency and waveband of the station it is tuned to
  • verb to tune to a radio or television station or programme using a dial

Publishing

  • noun a round display device, like the face of a clock, on which information is shown automatically by the movement of a hand or pointer

Origin & History of “dial”

The original application of the word dial in English is ‘sundial’. The evidence for its prehistory is patchy, but it is generally presumed to have come from medieval Latin diālis ‘daily’, a derivative of Latin diēs ‘day’, the underlying notion being that it records the passage of a 24-hour period.
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