One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A sound indicating that a telephone line is engaged.North American term busy signal
- ‘When they called the number, they heard nothing but an engaged tone.’
- ‘Well, since last Thursday we have been trying to call the phone number repeatedly, but all we've been getting is a permanently engaged tone, or a ringing tone followed by a dead tone.’
- ‘I tried dialling the landline from my mobile - and got an engaged tone.’
- ‘He hung up, and the engaged signal sounded in my ear.’
- ‘Either the phone gave an engaged signal or, if it rang, it rang out of time without being answered.’
- ‘And if the lines get too busy, callers will simply get the engaged tone, the spokesman said.’
- ‘It is frustrating for patients when they pick up a phone and hear an engaged tone or when they have to wait in a queue.’
- ‘Whatever time of day I try and call their helpline I get the engaged tone.’
- ‘One of the biggest problems we had with our old system was people would constantly get the engaged tone and have to ring back.’
- ‘Many more consumers repeatedly tried the line only to be met with a continual engaged signal.’
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