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the first three digits of a 7-digit telephone number

English translation: prefix

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15:07 Dec 22, 2005
English to English translations [PRO]
Tech/Engineering - Telecom(munications)
English term or phrase: the first three digits of a 7-digit telephone number
Is there a name for that in (U.S.) English?

Please note these are NOT the area code. E.g. in the number (540) 342-6701 they are "342".

TIA
Mikhail Kropotov
Russian Federation
Local time: 18:11
English translation:prefix
Explanation:
that's what it's called in the US

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Note added at 3 mins (2005-12-22 15:10:45 GMT)
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Enter a 6 digit area code and prefix and the location will be displayed. Enter a 3 digit area code for a list of the primary cities served by the area code. ...
www.melissadata.com/Lookups/phonelocation.asp - 6k - Cached - Similar pages

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 mins (2005-12-22 15:12:10 GMT)
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Howstuffworks "What do digits in phone numbers mean?"Think of the three parts like a street address, where the area code is the city, the prefix is the street and the line number is the house. ...
electronics.howstuffworks.com/question659.htm - 35k - Dec 20, 2005 - Cached - Similar pages
Selected response from:

Susana Galilea
United States
Local time: 09:11
Grading comment
Thank you Susanna for your fast response. All input is appreciated :)
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +16prefixSusana Galilea
3 +4See explanation below... (NFG)
Tony M
5in favor of 'prefix' - just checked our phone directory, not for grading
Vladimir Dubisskiy
4 -1city code
humbird


Discussion entries: 3





  

Answers


1 min   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +16
prefix


Explanation:
that's what it's called in the US

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 mins (2005-12-22 15:10:45 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Enter a 6 digit area code and prefix and the location will be displayed. Enter a 3 digit area code for a list of the primary cities served by the area code. ...
www.melissadata.com/Lookups/phonelocation.asp - 6k - Cached - Similar pages

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 4 mins (2005-12-22 15:12:10 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Howstuffworks "What do digits in phone numbers mean?"Think of the three parts like a street address, where the area code is the city, the prefix is the street and the line number is the house. ...
electronics.howstuffworks.com/question659.htm - 35k - Dec 20, 2005 - Cached - Similar pages


Susana Galilea
United States
Local time: 09:11
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thank you Susanna for your fast response. All input is appreciated :)
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you, I am going to use your answer! I'll keep the question open, however, to let others voice their opinions.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Lori Utecht/Vívian M Alves
2 mins

neutral  Tony M: Fair enough, I'm not qualified to comment! // Fascinating ref.! Just shows how historical factors have dictated technology differently in the US and Europe...
8 mins
  -> Dusty, he is asking for terminology in U.S. English, this is it / not a matter of belief, look at the references provided

agree  Murat Yildirim
9 mins

agree  David Knowles: Dusty is wrong in this case! Look at the howstuffworks ref. for confirmation.
16 mins

agree  Enza Longo: sorry - got confused - yes, the first 3 digits are considered the prefix
17 mins
  -> electronics.howstuffworks.com/question659.htm

agree  Andrey Belousov: Just called "Sprint". That's exactly how THEY call it! / 342 is Prefix
20 mins
  -> excellent idea :)

agree  RHELLER: http://www.napayellowpages.com/zip-telprefix.htm but the language is not standardized & some people use prefix to mean area code
21 mins
  -> true, I would never use "prefix" in daily parlance, however Mikhail's question asks for a distinction

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
43 mins

agree  Vladimir Dubisskiy
1 hr

agree  Peter Shortall
2 hrs

agree  Yavor Dimitrov
2 hrs

agree  Kirill Semenov
3 hrs

agree  Will Matter: This is what it's called now. Strangely enough, it did used to be called or referred to as the "exchange". People did used to say things like "MULberry 5555" when I was a child.
5 hrs

agree  Rebecca Barath: Absolutely!!
7 hrs

agree  Can Altinbay
8 hrs

agree  NancyLynn: In my previous life, when I was too young for such a job, I worked as an operator for Bell Canada. Definitely, more to it than city code as cities grow
22 hrs

agree  Cristina Chaplin
2 days17 hrs
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2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
city code


Explanation:
Area code is for greater area, city code narrows it down to specific area classified accroding to telephone company's order of things. Last four numbers are, of course, designated to specific user.

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Note added at 7 mins (2005-12-22 15:14:44 GMT)
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I know this because when I am assisting operators that's what they use --- "please give me the phone number you are calling ---- area code, city code, then the number".
I am a telephone interpreter too.

humbird
Native speaker of: Native in JapaneseJapanese, Native in EnglishEnglish
Notes to answerer
Asker: Aren't there many city codes for the same city, if it's big enough?

Asker: And what if the number is not in a city but in a rural area?


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Tony M: Depends on the country, but most developed countries have had 6 or 7 digit nos. for so long now, this is no longer true...
8 mins

neutral  Susana Galilea: "city code" is a less technical term, operators use it because most people in the U.S. wouldn't know what "prefix" refers to (I use "city code" myself in daily life)
13 mins
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16 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
See explanation below... (NFG)


Explanation:
I shouldn't really speak for the US situation, naturally, except to repeat what I said in my comment to Humbird's answer: it is a long time since those 3 digits meant anything even as broad as the city...

Just for the sake of interest, the UK has used 7 digits for ages, ever sinc STD came in, I think; prior to that, we would have called these 3 digits the 'exchange code', as they narrowed it down to a specific exchange. Small towns might well have only had one exchange, with just 4-figure nos. In London, with many exchanges, they used to have names, the first three letters of which eventually became the 3 digit exchange code, and were then absorbed into the 7-figure no. So there was CENtral, for example, and the very famous WHItehall 1212, the number for Scotland Yard.

But you have to be as old as me to remember things like exchange codes!

Tony M
France
Local time: 16:11
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 20

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Susana Galilea: if you shouldn't speak for the U.S. situation, why use a disagree on posters answering from within the U.S.? // Fair is fair :)
1 min
  -> Thanks, Susana! That was ages ago, and I've since deleted, as I was clearly wrong, though my comment was in good faith; "a little knowledge being a dangerous thing" :-( I stand by my d/a with 'city code' though

agree  RHELLER: the truth is that modern technology has changed everything and these 3 digits may have no relation to location, although, historically, they were grouped by neighborhood in the U.S.
9 mins
  -> Thanks, Rita! That very interesting ref. explains it well. Oh happy days of 4-digit nos.!

agree  airmailrpl: local exchange (code..number) in the USA
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Airmailrpl!

agree  Will Matter: Actually, we used to have this term, with the same approximate meaning in the US also. As RH says, they were grouped, roughly, by area & we could tell where someone lived (within the city) by their phone number. Prefix + XXXX
5 hrs
  -> Thanks, Will! I think it takes us 'oldies' to remember how things used to be! ;-)

agree  juvera: Not a city, not even a street.When they run out of the original prefix they introduce another one.In our street of 34 houses there are three different prefixes.You could tell when the house got its' telephone connection or got sold on from the tel. number
8 hrs
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
in favor of 'prefix' - just checked our phone directory, not for grading


Explanation:
Yes, so, i looked into the Telus phone directory and on the table with the local area numbers it shows like this:

Area code + Prefix + then 4 (four) more digits follow
[3 digits] [3 digits]
604

It's north America, Western Canada, British Columbia and 604 - it's a code for the so-called 'Greater Vancouver area' - a pretty large area.

I put it as i feel there is some confusion re. area code and prefix.

(and it's the same for other providers - I am with Sprint and it's all the same).

Vladimir Dubisskiy
United States
Local time: 09:11
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in UkrainianUkrainian
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