Word of the Day



1. a system of broadcasting information and programmes that people can listen to

a. a piece of equipment that you use for listening to radio programmes

Origin and usage

The word radio became popularized in the early 20th century with the development of different radio-based technologies. The word itself originates from the Latin ‘radius’, meaning ‘ray’ or ‘beam’.


Nikolai Tesla was one of the first people to demonstrate a working wireless radio, in St Louis, Missouri  in 1893. In spite of this, there are some who claim that the radio was actually invented by Guglielmo Marconi, who patented wireless telegraphy in 1896 and was the first person to transmit radio signals across the Atlantic Ocean in 1901. Radios became a vital piece of technology in the First and Second World Wars because the armed forces could use them to communicate with ships at sea or across long distances. Thanks to this method of communication, large groups of soldiers and equipment could be more easily moved and coordinated.

Following these periods of conflict in the first half of the 20th century, radios became very popular in households across the United States and Europe. At first, radio was primarily used to spread information in much the same way as newspapers, but it also became a prime source of entertainment. For the first time, people could listen to music or serialized stories over the course of several weeks in their very own homes. Today, satellite and internet radios have become hugely popular and can be found in homes and vehicles all around the globe.


“On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”

(Hunter S. Thompson)

“TV gives everyone an image, but radio gives birth to a million images in a million brains.”

(Peggy Noonan)


the airwaves, transistor, transmitter, wireless

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

About the author

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary is an award-winning, one-stop reference for English learners and speakers around the world.

Leave a Comment