- a gesture used to signal, summon, or direct someone.
- Chiefly Scot. a bow or curtsy of greeting.
- Archaic. beckon.
- at someone's beck and call, ready to do someone's bidding; subject to someone's slightest wish: He has three servants at his beck and call.
Origin of beck1
- a nod, wave, or other gesture or signal
- at someone's beck and call ready to obey someone's orders instantly; subject to someone's slightest whim
- (in N England) a stream, esp a swiftly flowing one
Word Origin and History for at someone's beck and call
c.1300, shortening of beckon. (v.).
late 14c., "mute signal," from noun use of bekken (v.), variant of becnan "to beckon" (see beckon). Transferred sense of "slightest indication of will" is from late 15c.
Idioms and Phrases with at someone's beck and call
at someone's beck and call
Required to comply with someone's requests or commands, as in The boss expects the entire staff to be at his beck and call. The noun beck, now obsolete except in this idiom, meant “a gesture or signal of command, such as a nod or hand movement,” whereas call signifies “a vocal summons.” Also see dance attendance on.