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[suhm-uh nz] /ˈsʌm ənz/
noun, plural summonses.
an authoritative command, message, or signal by which one is summoned.
a request, demand, or call to do something:
a summons to surrender.
  1. a call or citation by authority to appear before a court or a judicial officer.
  2. the writ by which the call is made.
an authoritative call or notice to appear at a specified place, as for a particular purpose or duty.
a call issued for the meeting of an assembly or parliament.
verb (used with object)
to serve with a summons; summon.
Origin of summons
1250-1300; Middle English somons < Anglo-French; Old French somonse < Vulgar Latin *summonsa, for Latin summonita, feminine past participle of summonēre; see summon
Related forms
nonsummons, noun
resummons, noun, plural resummonses. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for summonses
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Comdie must, according to the rules, send me three summonses.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • Those pretty boys will be in here with their summonses and their papers!

    Mayflower (Flor de mayo) Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • Nor were there any summonses or police courts afterwards; the incident was closed.

    Pickwickian Studies Percy Fitzgerald
  • “Yes; and summonses for assault, and all that bother,” said Uncle Dick.

    Patience Wins George Manville Fenn
  • It was through him that all summonses and notices had to go.

    Kophetua the Thirteenth Julian Corbett
  • But if he summonses me I will go Al and not whine about getting a raw deal.

    The Real Dope Ring Lardner
  • Four days later summonses were served on Dafydd Dafis and two other men.

    Mushroom Town Oliver Onions
  • summonses are issued about three weeks before the date of each Court.

British Dictionary definitions for summonses


noun (pl) -monses
a call, signal, or order to do something, esp to appear in person or attend at a specified place or time
  1. an official order requiring a person to attend court, either to answer a charge or to give evidence
  2. the writ making such an order Compare warrant
a call or command given to the members of an assembly to convene a meeting
to take out a summons against (a person)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French somonse, from somondre to summon
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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