di·al (dīəl, dīl)
1. A graduated surface or face on which a measurement, such as speed, is indicated by a moving needle or pointer.
a. The face of a clock.
b. A sundial.
a. The panel or face on a radio or television receiver on which the frequencies or channels are indicated.
b. A movable control knob or other device on a radio or television receiver used to change the frequency.
4. A rotatable disk on a telephone with numbers and letters, used to signal the number to which a call is made.
v. di·aled, di·al·ing, di·als or di·alled or di·al·ling
1. To measure with or as if with a dial.
2. To point to, indicate, or register by means of a dial.
3. To control or select by means of a dial: dial a radio station.
4. To call (a party) on a telephone.
5. To signal (a number) in making a telephone call: The program dials the number and then connects to the file server.
1. To use a dial.
2. To use a telephone.
Informal To reduce the intensity of: tried to dial down the controversy.
Informal To increase the intensity of: dialed up the action in the movie's sequel.
[Middle English, sundial, clock, from Old French dyal, from Medieval Latin diāle, from neuter of diālis, daily, from Latin diēs, day; see dyeu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.