• Call


    • UK enPR: kôl, IPA: /kɔːl/
    • US IPA: /kɔl/, /kɑl/
    • Rhymes: -ɔːl


    From Middle English callen, from Old English ceallian ("to call, shout") and Old Norse kalla ("to call, shout"); 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 kallen ("to scream, talk loudly, talk 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"). More at glory.

    Full definition of 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.
      • Cowperthe baker's punctual call
    3. A cry or shout.He heard a call from the other side of the room.
    4. A decision or judgement.That was a good call.
    5. The characteristic cry of a bird or other animal.That sound is the distinctive call of the cuckoo bird.
    6. A beckoning or summoning.I had to yield to the call of the wild.
      • AddisonDependence is a perpetual call upon humanity.
      • Macaulayrunning into danger without any call of duty
    7. (finance) An option to buy stock at a specified price during or at a specified time.
    8. (cricket) The act of calling to the other batsman.
    9. (cricket) The state of being the batsman whose role it is to call (depends on where the ball goes.)
    10. A work shift which requires one to be available when requested (see on call).
      • 1978, Alan E. Nourse, The Practice, 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.
    11. (computing) The act of jumping to a subprogram, saving the means to return to the original point.
    12. 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.
    13. (poker) The act of matching a bet made by a player who has previously bet in the same round of betting.
    14. A note blown on the horn to encourage the dogs in a hunt.
    15. (nautical) A whistle or pipe, used by the boatswain and his mate to summon the sailors to duty.
    16. A pipe to call birds by imitating their note or cry.


    1. 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 DownFor 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.
    2. (intransitive) To visit.
      1. To pay a (social) visit.
        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, The Celebrity Chapter 4, 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. 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, Mr. Pratt's Patients Chapter 7, “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. ...”
          • 2013-06-28, Joris Luyendijk, Our banks are out of control, 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, Henry Petroski, The Evolution of Eyeglasses, 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.
        5. (obsolete) To disclose the class or character of; to identify.
      4. (sport) 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 match or equal the amount of poker chips in the pot as the player that bet.
        4. (transitive) To state, or invoke a rule, in many games such as bridge, craps, jacks, and so on.
          My partner called two spades.
      5. (intransitive, with for) To require, demand.
        This job calls for patience.
      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.


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