voice mail

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voice mail

[′vȯis ‚māl]
A method of storing voice-recorded messages and delivering them electronically to an intended receiver.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

voice mail

(messaging, business)
Any system for sending, storing and retrieving audio messages, like a telephone answering machine.

A voice mailbox is typically associated with a telephone number or extension. When the number is called and the line is busy or not answered, the caller hears a message left by the owner and is given instructions for leaving a message or other available options, such as paging the individual or being transferred to an operator. The owner of a mailbox can change the outgoing message or listen to incoming messages after entering a PIN. Members of a voice mail system can generally forward or broadcast messages to other members' boxes.

The experience of two people trying to reach other by telephone but always reaching each other's voice mail is referred to as "(tele)phone tag".
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)


A computerized telephone answering system that digitizes incoming voice messages and stores them on disk or flash memory. Voicemail often provides auto attendant capability, which uses prerecorded messages to route the caller to the appropriate person, department or mailbox. Voicemail systems may also offer directory lookup by name.

The term is so ubiquitous that it may also refer to older answering machines that are analog tape recorders with answering features. See virtual voicemail and visual voicemail.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Consider now the situation where the telecommunications company provides voice mail services to both individuals free of charge.
You now have to make 90 outgoing calls, after listening to a 100 voice mail messages.
Now the system allows for people to pick up the phone if necessary or to let it go to voice mail. This way we have voice mail for detailed messages, but you can get a person to answer when someone is available.
For $39.95 per month, Angel.com supplies Krazy Kickz with a toll-free vanity number (866-2LACEUP), a voice-activated voice mail and call transfer system, and the convenience of being able to manage the service from their PCs.
Mid-Atlantic: Verizon Wireless ranks highest, outperforming its competitors in initial connections and timely voice mail notification.
After Voice Mail's triumph, Balding snr said: "For the first time in a couple of years I went to have my eyes tested and, when they asked me for a tip, I told them to have an each-way double on Fleeting Moon and Albinus, so it will be with some embarrassment that I go back there having failed to give them our winner!
I'd rather talk face-to-face and live with anybody, any day, than leave voice mails and correspond by e-mail.
Bailey adds, "I have found that e-mail has replaced a lot of my voice mail. Although e-mails can also be overwhelming, efficiencies to be gained are that messages do not have to be transcribed and can be reviewed when it suits you, and replying is easy.
In a voice mail to all of Goldman's 20,000 employees, he acknowledged that his remarks were insensitive" and "glib." In other words, he apologized.
Terri Kouba, project lead for the Unified Communications Project at the University of California at Berkeley, describes it this way: "Up until now, when you sent me a message, I had to receive it in the format you chose: e-mail, voice mail, or fax.