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




  • To control or select something with a dial, or (figuratively) as if with a dial.
  • To select a number, or to call someone, on a telephone.
  • To use a dial or a telephone.


  • The original meaning was 'sundial' and/or 'clock dial'; from Middle English diall, from Middle French dyal, from Latin diālis ("daily, concerning the day"), because of its use in telling the time of day, from Latin diēs ("day"). Compare Spanish dial and día.

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