I know that "online" means a person is reachable over the Internet.

Can I say "staying online" while speaking about phone calls?


Thanks for staying online. (Thanks for not hanging up with me).


1 Answer 1


We say:

I'm going to go offline this weekend.

This means that we are going to put away those devices that keep us online.

Most commonly these days, it refers to our mobile phones. And offline does refer to both internet access and phone calls.

We also say that we're going online, meaning that we are checking Facebook, Twitter, messages, and so on, and generally making ourselves available to others—including by phone.

So, staying online can include phone calls, but it includes a bunch of other things too. So, if only talking about a phone call, I wouldn't use it in that sense.

I would instead say one of the following:

Thank you for staying on the line.
Thank you for staying on the phone.
Thank you for holding.
Thank you for waiting.

  • 2
    Wow. This is a very helpful answer. I really appreciate that. It's wonderful to provide alternatives and telling situations or stories such as "The weekend story" so that we can understand the context. Thanks once again Jul 16, 2018 at 18:55
  • 1
    Before there was such a thing as "online", the expression for phone calls was "staying on the line", and that's still used. That can describe passive waiting where you don't necessarily have the phone pressed against your ear the entire time. "Staying on the phone" would more typically apply to continuing to engage in conversation rather than holding. Holding and waiting apply to not hanging up during a delay.
    – fixer1234
    Jul 17, 2018 at 5:10
  • 1
    I think the most relevant part of this answer is "stay on the line", which is the common idiomatic expression used with phone calls. For example, when calling a customer service center, "Please stay on the line. Someone will be with you shortly"
    – Andrew
    Jul 17, 2018 at 14:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .