videophone n.

a telephone system that transmits video as well as audio; a telephone that incorporates a video screen on which the other party may be seen


  • 1928 Radio Times 6 July 23/2 page image

    Mr. Tipper’s City office is as comfortably furnished in the year 199- as it might have been today. There is one conspicuous difference however; on Mr. Tipper’s desk is a ‘video[-]phone’ and the companion visualizing screen. The purpose of the apparatus is to enable the person at each end of the connection to see, as well as hear, all that occurs at the other end.

  • 1928 Cheshire Observer 7 July 15/2

    Television is the subject of a broadcast from Manchester on July 10. Listeners will have a glimpse of life in the year 1999, when such instruments as the videophone and visualising screen are among the usual appurtenances of a business office. A dramatist, who conceals his identity under the nom-de-plume of ‘Xlex’, has drawn upon his imagination and written a farcical comedy entitled ‘Televisionary Tactics’ showing the complications which may arise when people can see well as hear all that happens at either end of the videophone.

  • 1929 ‘H. Vincent’ War of the Planets in Amazing Stories Jan. 874/1 page image Harl Vincent bibliography

    At this juncture their individual call sounded from the videophone and Walter flipped back the news lever to permit the incoming personal call to be made. The disc flashed brightly and the face of his father appeared.

  • 1945 A. E. van Vogt World of Null-A in Astounding Science Fiction Aug. 9/2 page image A. E. van Vogt bibliography

    He closed the door, fastened the three plasto-windows and put a tracer on his videophone.

  • 1948 A. E. van Vogt Players of Ā in Astounding Science Fiction Oct. 18/1 page image A. E. van Vogt bibliography

    He looked for a message that might have been left for him, a more complete and personal account than could be intrusted to the videophone exchange.

  • 1951 C.L. Moore No Woman Born in ‘M. Leinster’ Great Stories Science Fiction 185 C. L. Moore bibliography

    Toward evening he surrendered and called Maltzer’s apartment by videophone.

  • 1966 I. Asimov Key in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Oct. 30/2 page image Isaac Asimov bibliography

    Ashley rose. ‘Where is your videophone?’ ‘In the next room.’

  • 1988 P. Anthony Anomaly in Aboriginal Science Fiction Nov.–Dec. page image Patricia Anthony bibliography

    I put in a call to the Hardings again. They were back from Australia, apparently. Mr. Harding answered the video phone.

  • 1998 J. Moffett The Bradshaw in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Oct.–Nov. 128/1 page image Judith Moffett bibliography

    She activates her phone, which has turned into a modern wall-mounted videophone, and places the call. At once a smiling Liam appears on the screen.

  • 2005 R. J. Sawyer Mindscan xxxiv. 246 Robert J. Sawyer

    The videophone was signaling an incoming call.

Research requirements

antedating 1928

Earliest cite

newspaper reviews of "Televisionary Tactics"

Research History
Mike Christie submitted a 1948 cite from A.E. van Vogt's "The Players of Null-A". Mike Christie submitted a 1945 cite from A.E. van Vogt's "World of Null-A".

The OED's original citation is from a 1955 reprint of C. L. Moore's "No Woman Born". Mike Christie checked the original 1944 publication, and the term was not used there: Jeff Prucher found that the term was not used in a 1948 reprint, but does appear in a 1951 reprint.

OED subsequently found a 1944 example in a non-SF context. We would love to find an earlier example from a SF source, and Jesse Sheidlower found a 1929 cite from Harl Vincent in Amazing Stories, and then Simon Koppel came through with two 1928 cites in reference to the same radio play, imagining office life in 1999.

Last modified 2021-04-07 13:12:52
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.