[suhm-uh nz]
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.
  3. Law.
    1. a call or citation by authority to appear before a court or a judicial officer.
    2. the writ by which the call is made.
  4. an authoritative call or notice to appear at a specified place, as for a particular purpose or duty.
  5. 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
Related formsnon·sum·mons, nounre·sum·mons, noun, plural re·sum·mons·es. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for summonses

Contemporary Examples of summonses

Historical Examples of summonses

  • The Comdie must, according to the rules, send me three summonses.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • Those pretty boys will be in here with their summonses and their papers!

    Mayflower (Flor de mayo)

    Vicente Blasco Ibez

  • Nor were there any summonses or police courts afterwards; the incident was closed.

    Pickwickian Studies

    Percy Fitzgerald

  • “Yes; and summonses for assault, and all that bother,” said Uncle Dick.

    Patience Wins

    George Manville Fenn

  • It was through him that all summonses and notices had to go.

British Dictionary definitions for summonses


noun plural -monses
  1. a call, signal, or order to do something, esp to appear in person or attend at a specified place or time
    1. an official order requiring a person to attend court, either to answer a charge or to give evidence
    2. the writ making such an orderCompare warrant
  2. a call or command given to the members of an assembly to convene a meeting
  1. to take out a summons against (a person)

Word Origin for 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