Conceptually, $telnet is to $t as John is to Fred. They're just different variables, represented by different names. They have no special meaning aside from whatever meaning the programmer who used them intended for them.
If you want to know what the programmer's intent was when she used those names, you'll probably have to read and understand the source code in a broader scope than just a variable name and operator here and there. If I say, "Be advised th", you wouldn't have any idea what I'm trying to advise you of any more than I know what your script does just by seeing two variable names.