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Definition: handset

(1) A portable, wireless phone. See cellphone, smartphone and cordless phone.

(2) The part of a desk telephone that is held to the ear and mouth. It contains the speaker (receiver) and microphone (transmitter). Contrast with headset.

I've Been Talking on a What?
Many people are not familiar with the term "handset." However, when contrasted to a "headset," it makes sense.

Only the Speaker
The handsets in some early phones contained only the speaker, such as this Blake wall phone at the turn of the 20th century. The microphone was in the base unit. (Image courtesy of Nortel Networks.)