[ suhm-uhnz ]
See synonyms for summons on
noun,plural sum·mons·es.
  1. an authoritative command, message, or signal by which one is summoned.

  2. a request, demand, or call to do something: a summons to surrender.

  1. Law.

    • a call or citation by authority to appear before a court or a judicial officer.

    • the writ by which the call is made.

  2. an authoritative call or notice to appear at a specified place, as for a particular purpose or duty.

  3. a call issued for the meeting of an assembly or parliament.

verb (used with object)
  1. 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

Other words from summons

  • non·sum·mons, noun
  • re·sum·mons, noun, plural re·sum·mons·es. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use summons in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for summons


/ (ˈsʌmənz) /

nounplural -monses
  1. a call, signal, or order to do something, esp to appear in person or attend at a specified place or time

    • an official order requiring a person to attend court, either to answer a charge or to give evidence

    • the writ making such an order: Compare warrant

  1. a call or command given to the members of an assembly to convene a meeting

  1. to take out a summons against (a person)

Origin of summons

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