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call on (third-person singular simple present calls on, present participle calling on, simple past and past participle called on) (idiomatic, transitive)

  1. To visit (a person); to pay a call to.
    Synonyms: pay a visit, visit, wait on
    I really should call on my aunt more often.
  2. To select (a student in a classroom, etc.) to provide an answer.
    He sat there, baffled, hoping nobody would call on him.
    • 2007, Barbara Seranella, Deadman's Switch, Thomas Dunne Books, →ISBN, pages 33–4:
      “Mr. Rayney, Mr. Rayney,” the reporters clamored, and hands shot up. ¶ Charlotte called on the reporter from the L.A. Times, promising herself that she would lead with the OC Register reporter next time.
  3. (also call upon) To request or ask something of (a person); to select for a task.
    The king called on his subjects to take up arms and defend the kingdom.
    • 1909 October 14, Edward Kimball Hall, speech, in The Inauguration of Ernest Fox Nichols, D.Sc., LL.D., as president of Dartmouth College, The Rumford Press, page 88:
      The alma mater had again called on her sons in her hour of need and again they had responded.
    • 1945 November and December, H. R. Fox, “The Jamaica Railway, 1845-1945”, in Railway Magazine, page 315:
      Because of the drastic reduction in the use of petrol and tyres the railway is now called on to effect practically all the island's transport, with the exception of a small amount handled by one coastwise steamer.
    • 1974, Bruce Thordarson, Lester Pearson: Diplomat and Politician[1], Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 120:
      President Kennedy imposed a naval blockade on Cuba to prevent delivery of the missiles and called on his allies for support.
    • 2002, Bruno Coppieters, “Legitimate Authority”, chapter 2 of Bruno Coppieters and Nick Fotion (editors), Moral Constraints on War: Principles and Cases, Lexington Books, →ISBN, page 46:
      De Gaulle called on the military to break with their hierarchical superiors and on the other French citizens to distance themselves from their government.
  4. (also call upon) To have recourse to.
    Synonym: summon up
    Exhausted, he called on his last ounce of strength.
    The young adventurer set out on the new planet alone, thankful that she could still call on her captain for advice in case of emergency.
  5. (ditransitive) To correct; to point out an error or untruth.
    Synonyms: correct, call out
    The salesman persisted in quoting a rate higher than was listed, until we called him on it.

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