[ verb ri-kawl; noun ri-kawl, ree-kawl for 7, 8, 10, 13, 14; ree-kawl for 11, 12 ]
See synonyms for: recallrecalledrecalling on

verb (used with object)
  1. to bring back from memory; recollect; remember: Can you recall what she said?

  2. to call back; summon to return: The army recalled many veterans.

  1. to bring (one's thoughts, attention, etc.) back to matters previously considered: He recalled his mind from pleasant daydreams to the dull task at hand.

  2. International Law. to summon back and withdraw the office from (a diplomat).

  3. to revoke or withdraw: to recall a promise.

  4. to revive.

  1. an act of recalling.

  2. the ability to remember or act of remembering; recollection; remembrance: This is the way it has been done for ages beyond recall.

  1. Psychology. the act or process of retrieving information previously encoded and stored in memory, without being cued by the targeted information itself:Music is often used in education to improve recall of text and factual information.In the interview, careful, open questions are essential to encourage and sustain the child's free recall of events.: Compare recognition (def. 9), retrieval (def. 3).

  2. the act or possibility of revoking something.

  3. the removal or the right of removal of a public official from office by a vote of the people taken upon petition of a specified number of the qualified electors.

  4. Also called callback . a summons by a manufacturer or other agency for the return of goods or a product already shipped to market or sold to consumers but discovered to be defective, contaminated, unsafe, or the like.

  5. a signal made by a vessel to recall one of its boats.

  6. a signal displayed to direct a racing yacht to sail across the starting line again.

Origin of recall

First recorded in 1575–85; re- + call

synonym study For recall

1. See remember.

Other words for recall

Opposites for recall

Other words from recall

  • re·call·a·ble, adjective
  • un·re·call·a·ble, adjective
  • un·re·called, adjective

Words Nearby recall Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use recall in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for recall


/ (rɪˈkɔːl) /

  1. (may take a clause as object) to bring back to mind; recollect; remember

  2. to order to return; call back permanently or temporarily: to recall an ambassador

  1. to revoke or take back

  2. to cause (one's thoughts, attention, etc) to return from a reverie or digression

  3. poetic to restore or revive

  1. the act of recalling or state of being recalled

  2. revocation or cancellation

  1. the ability to remember things; recollection

  2. military (esp formerly) a signal to call back troops, etc, usually a bugle call: to sound the recall

  3. US the process by which elected officials may be deprived of office by popular vote

Derived forms of recall

  • recallable, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with recall


see beyond recall.

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