Definition of telethon in English:



  • A very long television programme, typically one broadcast to raise money for a charity.

    • ‘Earlier this month, Johnny was among a galaxy of stars who manned the phones at a televised tsunami telethon to raise money for victims of the Asian disaster..’
    • ‘The telethon was to raise money for the people in need, to give them food where they had none, to put pharmaceuticals on their pharmacy shelves.’
    • ‘It is not yet known how much money was raised by the telethon but early predictions suggest it could be over £70 million.’
    • ‘In 1980 the appeal was broadcast for the first time as a telethon.’
    • ‘He is now trying to organise a community radio telethon to raise more money.’
    • ‘In this it is like a legal offshoot of all those charity telethons for children.’
    • ‘But I'm begging people at this point, if you've never sent money in for a telethon, now is the time to do it.’
    • ‘Anyway, I think this is a marvelous initiative, so when the telethon to raise the required funds airs, give generously!’
    • ‘In the end, both the concert and the telethon raised more than a million dollars.’
    • ‘They even dominate the new medium of television, serving as annual hosts of a polio telethon.’
    • ‘In September, a national telethon will be held to try to raise $5 million to help reconstruct the town.’
    • ‘That's why I agreed to do the telethon, even though in the long term more than charity is needed.’
    • ‘Stanley used to work on the telethon every year, often as its announcer and always answering phones.’
    • ‘Members will remember the telethons we used to have where people would make a donation and challenge other people to do the same.’
    • ‘It's part of our culture to have telethons and celebrity appeals and things like that.’
    • ‘This is more like an incredibly long concert as opposed to the traditional telethons of my youth.’


1940s (originally US): from tele-‘at a distance’ + -thon on the pattern of marathon.