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See also: Call and CALL



 call on Wikipedia
Woman making a telephone call (1964).
Call of the osprey (bird).


From Middle English callen, from Old English ceallian (to call, shout) and Old Norse kalla (to call; shout; refer to as; name); both from Proto-Germanic *kalzōną (to call, shout), from Proto-Indo-European *gal(o)s-, *glōs-, *golH-so- (voice, cry). Cognate with Scots call, caw, ca (to call, cry, shout), Dutch kallen (to chat, talk), German dialectal kallen (to talk; talk loudly or too much), Swedish kalla (to call, refer to, beckon), Norwegian kalle (to call, name), Icelandic kalla (to call, shout, name), Latin glōria (fame, honour, glory), Welsh galw (to call, demand), Polish głos (voice), Lithuanian gal̃sas (echo), Russian голос (golos, voice). More at glory.



call (plural calls)

  1. A telephone conversation.
    I received several phone calls today.
    I received several calls today.
  2. A short visit, usually for social purposes.
    I paid a call to a dear friend of mine.
    • Cowper
      the baker's punctual call
  3. (nautical) A visit by a ship or boat to a port.
    The ship made a call at Southampton.
  4. A cry or shout.
    He heard a call from the other side of the room.
  5. A decision or judgement.
    That was a good call.
  6. The characteristic cry of a bird or other animal.
    That sound is the distinctive call of the cuckoo bird.
  7. A beckoning or summoning.
    I had to yield to the call of the wild.
    • Addison
      Dependence is a perpetual call upon humanity.
    • Macaulay
      running into danger without any call of duty
  8. The right to speak at a given time during a debate or other public event; the floor.
    The Prime Minister has the call.
    I give the call to the Manager of Opposition Business.
  9. (finance) An option to buy stock at a specified price during or at a specified time.
  10. (cricket) The act of calling to the other batsman.
  11. (cricket) The state of being the batsman whose role it is to call (depends on where the ball goes.)
  12. A work shift which requires one to be available when requested (see on call).
    • 1978, Alan E. Nourse, The Practice,[1] Harper & Row, ISBN 9780060131944:
      page 48: “Mondays would be great, especially after a weekend of call.”
      page 56: “ [] I’ve got call tonight, and all weekend, but I’ll be off tomorrow to help you some.”
    • 2007, William D. Bailey, You Will Never Run Out of Jesus, CrossHouse Publishing, ISBN 978-0-929292-24-3:
      page 29: I took general-surgery call at Bossier Medical Center and asked special permission to take general-medical call, which was gladly given away by the older staff members: [] . You would be surprised at how many surgical cases came out of medical call.
      page 206: My first night of primary medical call was greeted about midnight with a very ill 30-year-old lady who had a temperature of 103 degrees.
    • 2008, Jamal M. Bullocks et al., Plastic Surgery Emergencies: Principles and Techniques, Thieme, ISBN 978-1-58890-670-0, page ix:
      We attempted to include all topics that we ourselves have faced while taking plastic surgery call at the affiliated hospitals in the Texas Medical Center, one of the largest medical centers in the world, which sees over 100,000 patients per day.
    • 2009, Steven Louis Shelley, A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting, page 171:
      The columns in the second rectangle show fewer hours, but part of that is due to the fact that there's a division between a work call and a show call.
  13. (computing) The act of jumping to a subprogram, saving the means to return to the original point.
  14. A statement of a particular state, or rule, made in many games such as bridge, craps, jacks, and so on.
    There was a 20 dollar bet on the table, and my call was 9.
  15. (poker) The act of matching a bet made by a player who has previously bet in the same round of betting.
  16. A note blown on the horn to encourage the dogs in a hunt.
  17. (nautical) A whistle or pipe, used by the boatswain and his mate to summon the sailors to duty.
  18. A pipe or other instrument to call birds or animals by imitating their note or cry. A game call.
  19. An invitation to take charge of or serve a church as its pastor.
  20. (archaic) Vocation; employment; calling.
  21. (US, law) A reference to, or statement of, an object, course, distance, or other matter of description in a survey or grant requiring or calling for a corresponding object, etc., on the land.


  • 2007, Latina, volume 11, page 101:
    We actually have a call tomorrow, which is a Sunday, right after my bridal shower. I have to make enchiladas for 10 people!


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit



call (third-person singular simple present calls, present participle calling, simple past and past participle called or call'd)

  1. (heading) To use one's voice.
    1. (intransitive) To request, summon, or beckon.
      That person is hurt; call for help!
      • John Bunyan (1628-1688)
        They called for rooms, and he showed them one.
    2. (intransitive) To cry or shout.
      • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
        You must call to the nurse.
      • Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), Merrow Down
        For far — oh, very far behind, / So far she cannot call to him, / Comes Tegumai alone to find / The daughter that was all to him!
    3. (transitive) To utter in a loud or distinct voice.
      to call the roll of a military company
      • John Gay (1685-1732)
        no parish clerk who calls the psalm so clear
    4. (transitive, intransitive) To contact by telephone.
      Why don't you call me in the morning?  Why don't you call tomorrow?
    5. (transitive) To declare in advance.
      The captains call the coin toss.
    6. To rouse from sleep; to awaken.
      • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
        If thou canst awake by four o' the clock, / I prithee call me. Sleep hath seized me wholly.
    7. To declare (an effort or project) to be a failure.
      After the third massive failure, John called the whole initiative.
  2. (heading, intransitive) To visit.
    1. To pay a (social) visit (often used with "on", "round", or "at"; used by salespeople with "again" to invite customers to come again).
      We could always call on a friend.  The engineer called round whilst you were away.
      • William Temple (1628–1699)
        He ordered her to call at the house once a week.
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
        The Celebrity, by arts unknown, induced Mrs. Judge Short and two other ladies to call at Mohair on an afternoon when Mr. Cooke was trying a trotter on the track. The three returned wondering and charmed with Mrs. Cooke; they were sure she had had no hand in the furnishing of that atrocious house.
    2. To stop at a station or port.
      This train calls at Reading, Slough and London Paddington.  Our cruise ship called at Bristol Harbour.
  3. (heading) To name, identify or describe.
    1. (transitive) To name or refer to.
      Why don't we dispense with the formalities. Please call me Al.
      • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 7, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
        “I don't know how you and the ‘head,’ as you call him, will get on, but I do know that if you call my duds a ‘livery’ again there'll be trouble. It's bad enough to go around togged out like a life saver on a drill day, but I can stand that 'cause I'm paid for it. What I won't stand is to have them togs called a livery. []
      • 1920, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Avery Hopwood, The Bat, chapterI:
        The Bat—they called him the Bat. Like a bat he chose the night hours for his work of rapine; like a bat he struck and vanished, pouncingly, noiselessly; like a bat he never showed himself to the face of the day.
      • 2013 June 28, Joris Luyendijk, “Our banks are out of control”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 3, page 21:
        Seeing the British establishment struggle with the financial sector is like watching an alcoholic [].  Until 2008 there was denial over what finance had become. [] But the scandals kept coming, and so we entered stage three – what therapists call "bargaining". A broad section of the political class now recognises the need for change but remains unable to see the necessity of a fundamental overhaul. Instead it offers fixes and patches.
    2. (in passive) Of a person, to have as one's name; of a thing, to have as its name.
      I'm called John.  A very tall building is called a skyscraper.
      • 2013 September-October, Henry Petroski, “The Evolution of Eyeglasses”, in American Scientist:
        The ability of a segment of a glass sphere to magnify whatever is placed before it was known around the year 1000, when the spherical segment was called a reading stone, essentially what today we might term a frameless magnifying glass or plain glass paperweight.
    3. (transitive) To predict.
      He called twelve of the last three recessions.
    4. To state, or estimate, approximately or loosely; to characterize without strict regard to fact.
      They call the distance ten miles.  That's enough work. Let's call it a day and go home.
      • John Brougham (1814-1880)
        [The] army is called seven hundred thousand men.
    5. (obsolete) To disclose the class or character of; to identify.
  4. (heading, sports) Direct or indirect use of the voice.
    1. (cricket) (of a batsman): To shout directions to the other batsman on whether or not they should take a run.
    2. (baseball, cricket) (of a fielder): To shout to other fielders that he intends to take a catch (thus avoiding collisions).
    3. (intransitive, poker) To equal the same amount that other players are currently betting.
      I bet $800 and Jane raised to $1600. My options: call (match her $1600 bet), reraise or fold.
    4. (intransitive, poker, proscribed) To match the current bet amount, in preparation for a raise in the same turn. (Usually, players are forbidden to announce one's play this way.)
      I'll call your 300, and raise to 600!
    5. (transitive) To state, or invoke a rule, in many games such as bridge, craps, jacks, and so on.
      My partner called two spades.
  5. (transitive, sometimes with for) To require, demand.
    He felt called to help the old man.
    • 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, chapterII:
      Carried somehow, somewhither, for some reason, on these surging floods, were these travelers, of errand not wholly obvious to their fellows, yet of such sort as to call into query alike the nature of their errand and their own relations.
  6. (transitive, finance) To announce the early extinction of a debt by prepayment, usually at a premium.
  7. (transitive, banking) To demand repayment of a loan.
  8. (transitive, computing) To jump to (another part of a program) to perform some operation, returning to the original point on completion.
    A recursive function is one that calls itself.


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.



Etymology 1Edit

From Latin callis (alley, narrow street, passageway)


call m (plural calls)

  1. passageway

Etymology 2Edit

From Latin callum.


call m (uncountable)

  1. corn

Etymology 3Edit

Borrowed from Hebrew קָהָל (qahál, assembly, synagogue).


call m (plural calls)

  1. Jewish quarter

Scottish GaelicEdit


call m (genitive singular calla, plural callaidhean)

  1. verbal noun of caill
  2. loss
  3. waste

Derived termsEdit