Common Phone Terminology

Updated Dec 23, 2019

Barge: The ability to add yourself to already established calls taking place between other people. 

Call: Using a telephone to reach another in order to have a conversation. 

Call Waiting: Your phone’s ability to alert you of incoming calls while you are already on the phone with another party. When call waiting is utilized, an incoming call will be indicated by a beeping sound while the party’s name and number appear on the phone screen. 

Conference Call: Phone calls which take place between several separate entities, each in a separate location and utilizing a separate phone. 

Cradle: The part of the phone’s external hardware where the phone rests when not in use. 

Handoff: When one party transfers a phone call, and all the concerns and responsibilities thereof, to a different party. 

Handover: Synonymous with “handoff.” 

Hard keys: Buttons with actions that are consistent; the actions they perform when pressed do not change. 

Hook: An electronic toggle that indicates when your phone is hung up. It can be found near the top of your phone cradle. When the phone is absent from its cradle, the phone is said to be “off the hook.” A phone being “off the hook” is usually indicated by a fast-paced beeping sound when a third-party attempt to call the phone in question. 

Line: A telephone connection. 

Soft keys: Buttons that perform different actions when pressed, depending on the context. On your Cisco phone, the buttons of your soft keys will have their actions indicated by the touchscreen adjacent to the buttons. 

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