Definition of telephone tag in US English:

telephone tag

noun

informal
  • A situation in which two people trying to communicate by telephone continually miss each other.

    • ‘Once your regular clients get used to scheduling this way, the telephone tag game will end, because it will be easier and quicker for them to make an appointment via your online scheduler.’
    • ‘… The immediate answer is efficiency - there's no need to play telephone tag.’
    • ‘Your message should give a specific time and day when the call should be returned to save the aggravation of telephone tag: ‘I will be in my office in the morning tomorrow.’’
    • ‘Aside from the telephone tag, there is always the wait for the patient of my making the call at the end of office hours.’
    • ‘‘It really helps us avoid telephone tag,’ he added.’
    • ‘Since the Net moved out of the halls of academia and into the ‘real world,’ email has all but replaced the fax machine and significantly reduced the amount of telephone tag we play each day.’
    • ‘No doubt, in many such cases the game of telephone tag is to blame.’
    • ‘Voice mail was their response to telephone tag.’
    • ‘That's a far cry from the traditional temp-placement process, which typically requires hours of telephone tag.’
    • ‘Indeed, the cost to British business of staff playing 'telephone tag' is estimated to be almost £2bn a month.’
    • ‘But, like any good game of telephone tag, the truth and the rumors gelled together to make a big old stew of speculation.’
    • ‘Until now, nurses and doctors were constantly playing telephone tag - paging each other to consult on patient care and administrative matters.’
    • ‘But you can't access your online account in the car and you don't want to play telephone tag with your broker.’
    • ‘If the person you are trying to reach is unavailable, leave a complete message including when you will be reachable so that you don't play telephone tag with one another.’
    • ‘First, a game of telephone tag: he promises to call back but forgets and ends up text-messaging me in the middle of the night to confirm.’