View synonyms for call


[ kawl ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to cry out in a loud voice; shout:

    He called her name to see if she was home.

  2. to command or request to come; summon:

    to call a dog;

    to call a cab;

    to call a witness.

  3. to ask or invite to come:

    Will you call the family to dinner?

  4. to communicate or try to communicate with by telephone:

    Call me when you arrive.

  5. to rouse from sleep, as by a call; waken:

    Call me at eight o'clock.

  6. to read over (a roll or a list) in a loud voice.
  7. to convoke or convene:

    We will now call Congress into session.

  8. to announce authoritatively; proclaim:

    The company called a halt to production of their latest line after many items failed quality checks.

  9. to order into effect; decree:

    The union is planning to call a strike late this year.

  10. to schedule:

    The director should call one more rehearsal before opening night.

  11. to summon by or as if by divine command:

    He felt called to the ministry.

  12. to summon to an office, duty, etc.:

    His country called him to service during the Korean War.

  13. to cause to come; bring:

    to call to mind;

    to call into existence.

  14. to bring under consideration or discussion:

    The judge called the case to court.

  15. to attract or lure (birds or animals) by imitating characteristic sounds.
  16. to direct or attract (attention):

    He called his roommate's attention to the mess.

  17. to name or address (someone) as:

    His parents named him James, but the boys call him Jim.

  18. to designate as something specified:

    He called me a liar.

  19. to think of as something specified; consider; estimate:

    I call that a mean remark.

  20. to demand of (someone) that they fulfill a promise, furnish evidence for a statement, etc.:

    They called him on his story.

  21. to criticize adversely; express disapproval of; censure:

    She called him on his vulgar language.

  22. to demand payment or fulfillment of (a loan).
  23. to demand presentation of (bonds) for redemption.
  24. to forecast correctly:

    He has called the outcome of the last three elections.

  25. Sports. (of an official)
    1. to pronounce a judgment on (a shot, pitch, batter, etc.):

      The umpire called the pitch a strike.

    2. to put an end to (a contest) because of inclement weather, poor field conditions, etc.:

      A sudden downpour forced the umpire to call the game.

  26. Pool. to name (the ball) one intends to drive into a particular pocket.
  27. Computers. to invoke (a subroutine or procedure) in a computer program.
  28. Cards.
    1. to demand (a card).
    2. to demand the display of a hand by (a player).
    3. Poker. to equal (a bet) or equal the bet made by (the preceding bettor) in a round.
    4. Bridge. to signal one's partner for a lead of (a certain card or suit).

verb (used without object)

  1. to speak loudly, as to attract attention; shout; cry:

    She called to the children.

  2. to telephone or try to telephone a person:

    He promised to call at noon.

  3. to make a short visit; stop at a place on some errand or business:

    She called at the store for the package.

  4. Cards.
    1. to demand a card.
    2. to demand a showing of hands.
    3. Poker. to equal a bet.
    4. Bridge. to bid or pass.
  5. (of a bird or animal) to utter its characteristic cry.


  1. a cry or shout:

    She gave a call across the lawn to her friend.

  2. the cry or vocal sound of a bird or other animal:

    A crow's call sounds different from a raven's.

  3. an instrument for imitating this cry and attracting or luring an animal:

    He bought a duck call.

  4. an act or instance of telephoning:

    She returned his call as soon as her meeting was over.

  5. a short visit:

    to make a call on someone.

  6. a summons or signal sounded by a bugle, bell, etc.:

    We live so close to the fort that we can hear the bugle calls.

  7. a summons, invitation, or bidding:

    The students gathered at the call of the dean.

  8. a calling of a roll; roll call.
  9. the fascination or appeal of a given place, vocation, etc.:

    the call of the sea.

  10. a mystic experience of divine appointment to a vocation or service:

    He had a call to become a minister.

  11. a request or invitation to become pastor of a church, a professor in a university, etc.
  12. a need or occasion:

    He had no call to say such outrageous things.

  13. a demand or claim:

    to make a call on a person's time.

  14. a demand for payment of an obligation, especially where payment is at the option of the creditor.
  15. Cards.
    1. a demand for a card or a showing of hands.
    2. Poker. an equaling of the preceding bet.
    3. Bridge. a bid or pass.
  16. Sports. a judgment or decision by an umpire, a referee, or other official of a contest, as on a shot, pitch, or batter:

    The referees were making one bad call after another.

  17. Theater.
    1. a notice of rehearsal posted by the stage manager.
  18. Dance. a figure or direction in square dancing, announced to the dancers by the caller.
  19. Also called call option. Finance. an option that gives the right to buy a fixed amount of a particular stock at a predetermined price within a given period of time, purchased by a person who believes the price will rise. Compare put ( def 24 ).
  20. Fox Hunting. any of several cries, or sounds made on a horn by the hunter to encourage the hounds.

verb phrase

    1. to ask; appeal to:

      They called on him to represent them.

    2. to visit for a short time:

      to call on friends.

    1. to request or pray for; invoke:

      to call down the wrath of God.

    2. to reprimand; scold:

      The boss called us down for lateness.

    1. to distract; take away:

      Please call off your dog.

    2. to cancel (something) that had been planned for a certain date:

      The performance was called off because of rain.

  1. to summon into action; bring into existence:

    to call forth her courage and resolve.

  2. to cause to leave or go; summon:

    A death in the family called him away.

    1. to go or come to get; pick up; fetch.
    2. to request; summon.
    3. to require; need:

      The occasion calls for a cool head.

    1. to bring forward for consideration or discussion.
    2. to cause to remember; evoke.
    3. to communicate or try to communicate with by telephone.
    4. to summon for action or service:

      A large number of Army reservists were called up.

    5. Computers. to summon (information) from a computer system for display on a screen:

      She called up the full text.


/ kɔːl /


  1. often foll by out to speak or utter (words, sounds, etc) loudly so as to attract attention

    he called out her name

  2. tr to ask or order to come

    to call a policeman

  3. intrsometimes foll byon to make a visit (to)

    she called on him

  4. often foll by up to telephone (a person)

    he called back at nine

  5. tr to summon to a specific office, profession, etc

    he was called to the ministry

  6. (of animals or birds) to utter (a characteristic sound or cry)
  7. tr to summon (a bird or animal) by imitating its cry
  8. tr to name or style

    they called the dog Rover

  9. tr to designate

    they called him a coward

  10. dialect.
    tr to speak ill of or scold
  11. tr to regard in a specific way

    I call it a foolish waste of time

  12. tr to attract (attention)
  13. tr to read (a list, register, etc) aloud to check for omissions or absentees
  14. whentr, usually foll by for to give an order (for)

    to call a strike

  15. intr to try to predict the result of tossing a coin
  16. tr to awaken

    I was called early this morning

  17. tr to cause to assemble

    to call a meeting

  18. tr sport (of an umpire, referee, etc) to pass judgment upon (a shot, player, etc) with a call
  19. tr to broadcast a commentary on (a horse race or other sporting event)
  20. tr to demand repayment of (a loan, redeemable bond, security, etc)
  21. troften foll byup accounting to demand payment of (a portion of a share issue not yet paid by subscribers)
  22. tr to award (a student at an Inn of Court) the degree of barrister (esp in the phrase call to the bar )
  23. tr computing to transfer control to (a named subprogram)
  24. tr poker to demand that (a player) expose his hand, after equalling his bet
  25. intr bridge to make a bid
  26. (in square-dancing) to call out (instructions) to the dancers
  27. billiards to ask (a player) to say what kind of shot he will play or (of a player) to name his shot
  28. intrfoll byfor
    1. to require

      this problem calls for study

    2. to come or go (for) in order to fetch

      I will call for my book later

  29. intr; foll by on or upon to make an appeal or request (to)

    they called upon him to reply

  30. tr to predict the outcome of an event

    we don't know yet if the plan has succeeded because it's too soon to call

  31. call into being
    to create
  32. call into play
    to begin to operate
  33. call in question or call into question
  34. call it a day
    to stop work or other activity
  35. too close to call
    (of the outcome of a competition, election, match, etc) unable to be predicted
  36. call to mind
    to remember or cause to be remembered


  1. a cry or shout
  2. the characteristic cry of a bird or animal
  3. a device, such as a whistle, intended to imitate the cry of a bird or animal
  4. a summons or invitation
  5. a summons or signal sounded on a horn, bugle, etc
  6. hunting any of several notes or patterns of notes, blown on a hunting horn as a signal
  7. hunting
    1. an imitation of the characteristic cry of a wild animal or bird to lure it to the hunter
    2. an instrument for producing such an imitation
  8. a short visit

    the doctor made six calls this morning

  9. an inner urge to some task or profession; vocation
  10. allure or fascination, esp of a place

    the call of the forest

  11. the summons to the bar of a student member of an Inn of Court
  12. need, demand, or occasion

    there is no call to shout

    we don't get much call for stockings these days

  13. demand or claim (esp in the phrase the call of duty )
  14. theatre a notice to actors informing them of times of rehearsals
  15. (in square dancing) an instruction to execute new figures
  16. a conversation or a request for a connection by telephone
  17. commerce
    1. a demand for repayment of a loan
    2. ( as modifier )

      call money

  18. finance
    1. a demand for redeemable bonds or shares to be presented for repayment
    2. a demand for an instalment payment on the issue price of bonds or shares
  19. billiards a demand to an opponent to say what kind of shot he will play
  20. poker a demand for a hand or hands to be exposed
  21. bridge a bid, or a player's turn to bid
  22. a decision or judgment

    it's your call

  23. sport a decision of an umpire or referee regarding a shot, pitch, etc
  24. a broadcast commentary on a horse race or other sporting event
  25. Also calledcall option stock exchange an option to buy a stated amount of securities at a specified price during a specified period Compare put
  26. call for margin
    stock exchange a demand made by a stockbroker for partial payment of a client's debt due to decreasing value of the collateral
  27. call of nature
    See nature
  28. on call
    1. (of a loan, etc) repayable on demand
    2. available to be called for work outside normal working hours
  29. within call
    within range; accessible

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Other Words From

  • un·called adjective
  • well-called adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of call1

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English callen, cal(e), probably from Old Norse kalla “to call out, shout,” conflated with Old English ( West Saxon ) ceallian “to shout”; cognate with Middle Dutch kallen “to talk,” Old High German kallôn “to shout,” akin to Old English -calla “herald,” Irish gall “swan,” Old Church Slavonic glasŭ “voice”

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Word History and Origins

Origin of call1

Old English ceallian; related to Old Norse kalla, Old High German kallōn, Old Slavonic glasǔ voice

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. on call,
    1. payable or subject to return without advance notice.
    2. readily available for summoning upon short notice.
  2. take a call, to acknowledge the applause of the audience after a performance by appearing for a bow or a curtain call.
  3. within call, within distance or range of being spoken to or summoned:

    Please stay within call.

  4. call in sick. sick 1( def 14 ).
  5. call to order. order ( def 48 ).

More idioms and phrases containing call

  • above and beyond (the call of duty)
  • at someone's beck and call
  • close call
  • dressing (calling) down
  • no call for
  • on call
  • pay a call
  • pot calling the kettle black
  • too close to call
  • uncalled for
  • wake-up call
  • within call

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Synonym Study

Call, invite, summon imply requesting the presence or attendance of someone at a particular place. Call is the general word: to call a meeting. To invite is to ask someone courteously to come as a guest, a participant, etc., leaving the person free to refuse: to invite guests to a concert; to invite them to contribute to a fund. Summon implies sending for someone, using authority or formality in making the request and (theoretically) not leaving the person free to refuse: to summon a witness, members of a committee, etc.

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Example Sentences

Note: UNICOR uses its inmates for everything from call center operators to human demolishers of old computers.

This is the Mexico that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and most major U.S. corporations, are eager to call amigo.

Al Qaeda has never managed to carve out a large chunk of real estate to call its own—in Afghanistan it was a guest of the Taliban.

Who else would see a former spouse accused of underage sex and call him ‘the greatest man there is’?

Almost everyone I spoke to said they have used JSwipe because they are specifically not just looking for a booty call.

Everything is topsy-turvy in Europe according to our moral ideas, and they don't have what we call "men" over here.

It was like his beautiful courtesy to call me in and introduce me to Blow instead of letting me go away.

After an hour, however, he reached this decision: He would not go to or call up Mrs. Merley.

"I call you," the policeman said, and stripping the saddle and bridle from his sweaty horse, turned him loose to graze.

Each did his duty, or was adjured to do it, in the "state of life to which it had pleased God to call him."


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.