Definition of busy signal in English:

busy signal


North American
  • A sound indicating that a telephone line is engaged, typically a repeated single bleep; an engaged tone.

    • ‘You'll get a lot of busy signals and the software's quirky, but it's kinder on your pocketbook.’
    • ‘At that moment I started re-calling the cell phone, but I just kept getting a busy signal.’
    • ‘He held the phone to his ear, but was greeted by a busy signal.’
    • ‘I dialed the number seven times, and got seven busy signals.’
    • ‘After speed-dialing the contest number a few times and getting a busy signal, I switched off my phone and tried on my new lipstick.’
    • ‘At this point, the only means these agencies have for communicating is over the telephone - busy signals and understaffing can result in excessive waiting for people in need of assistance.’
    • ‘With a strangled yell of frustration Sam attempted to dial Alice's number, but received a busy signal.’
    • ‘After the third busy signal, the phone was finally ringing.’
    • ‘That got me concerned, because you almost never get a busy signal on a cell phone.’
    • ‘Customers reported phone holds of an hour or longer, nonstop busy signals and missed service appointments.’
    • ‘She does not even have voice mail or an old-school answering machine. That latter fact means that every once in a while when I call her, I hear an incredibly rare sound - a busy signal.’
    • ‘She tried calling Courtney's cell phone, but she got a busy signal.’
    • ‘A phone call to Jasmine's had yielded a busy signal.’
    • ‘This was immediately followed by a busy signal as the Verizon voicemail system hung up on me.’
    • ‘Frankie dialed the number, groaning when she heard the busy signal.’
    • ‘For days calls to Dave and his wife Susan reached only busy signals or voicemail boxes.’
    • ‘If you want to talk about dial-up or busy signals, we get less busy signals than any that I know of.’
    • ‘He dialed the number of friend after friend, to get only answering machines, busy signals, and little siblings.’
    • ‘Dial your line 1 number and you should get a busy signal.’
    • ‘If you get a busy signal, just please hang up and call back.’