call names

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Idioms and Phrases

Verbally abuse someone, use offensive epithets, as in The teacher told the children to stop calling names . This idiom was first recorded in the late 1600s but Shakespeare used a similar expression earlier in Richard III (1:3): “That thou hadst called me all these bitter names.”

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Example Sentences

The friends were even given military call names - Elf, Bay and Airplane.

She knew her mistress was very "particular," and did not allow any one in her house to "call names."

We never know, when we call names, what sore spots we may be hitting.

Serena did not relish being called an invention of the evil one, herself, but it does not do to call names at a phonograph.

"Just because their business methods don't agree with your peculiar ideas is no reason why you should call names," she flared.

People always quarrel over that question, and call names, and never agree.


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[tawr-choo-uhs ]

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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.




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