see also: Call, CALL
  • (British) enPR: kôl, IPA: /kɔːɫ/
  • (GA) IPA: /kɔl/, [kʰɔɫ]
  • (America, cot-caught) IPA: /kɑɫ/, [kʰɑɫ]

call (plural calls)

  1. A telephone conversation.
    I received several phone calls today.
    I received several calls today.
  2. A short visit, usually for social purposes.
    I paid a call to a dear friend of mine.
    • the baker's punctual call
  3. (nautical) A visit by a ship or boat to a port.
    The ship made a call at Southampton.
  4. A cry or shout.
    He heard a call from the other side of the room.
  5. A decision or judgement.
    That was a good call.
  6. The characteristic cry of a bird or other animal.
    That sound is the distinctive call of the cuckoo bird.
  7. A beckoning or summoning.
    I had to yield to the call of the wild.
    • Dependence is a perpetual call upon humanity.
    • 18, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter 16, in The History of England from the Accession of James the Second, volume (please specify ), London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, OCLC 1069526323 ↗:
  8. The right to speak at a given time during a debate or other public event; the floor.
    The Prime Minister has the call.
    I give the call to the Manager of Opposition Business.
  9. (finance) An option to buy stock at a specified price during or at a specified time.
  10. (cricket) The act of calling to the other batsman.
  11. (cricket) The state of being the batsman whose role it is to call (depends on where the ball goes.)
  12. A work shift which requires one to be available when requested (see on call).
    • 1978, Alan E. Nourse, The Practice,[ ] Harper & Row, ISBN 9780060131944:
      page 48: “Mondays would be great, especially after a weekend of call.”
      page 56: “ […] I’ve got call tonight, and all weekend, but I’ll be off tomorrow to help you some.”
    • 2007, William D. Bailey, You Will Never Run Out of Jesus, CrossHouse Publishing, ISBN 978-0-929292-24-3:
      page 29 ↗: I took general-surgery call at Bossier Medical Center and asked special permission to take general-medical call, which was gladly given away by the older staff members: […] . You would be surprised at how many surgical cases came out of medical call.
      page 206 ↗: My first night of primary medical call was greeted about midnight with a very ill 30-year-old lady who had a temperature of 103 degrees.
    • 2008, Jamal M. Bullocks et al., Plastic Surgery Emergencies: Principles and Techniques, Thieme, ISBN 978-1-58890-670-0, page ix ↗:
      We attempted to include all topics that we ourselves have faced while taking plastic surgery call at the affiliated hospitals in the Texas Medical Center, one of the largest medical centers in the world, which sees over 100,000 patients per day.
  13. (computing) The act of jumping to a subprogram, saving the means to return to the original point.
  14. A statement of a particular state, or rule, made in many games such as bridge, craps, jacks, and so on.
    There was a 20 dollar bet on the table, and my call was 9.
  15. (poker) The act of matching a bet made by a player who has previously bet in the same round of betting.
  16. A note blown on the horn to encourage the dogs in a hunt.
  17. (nautical) A whistle or pipe, used by the boatswain and his mate to summon the sailors to duty.
  18. A pipe or other instrument to call birds or animals by imitating their note or cry. A game call.
  19. An invitation to take charge of or serve a church as its pastor.
  20. (archaic) Vocation; employment; calling.
  21. (US, legal) A reference to, or statement of, an object, course, distance, or other matter of description in a survey or grant requiring or calling for a corresponding object, etc., on the land.
  22. (informal, slang, prostitution) A meeting with a client for paid sex; hookup; job.
Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: колл
  • French: appeau
  • Russian: мано́к

call (calls, present participle calling; past and past participle called)

  1. (heading) To use one's voice.
    1. (intransitive) To request, summon, or beckon.
      That person is hurt; call for help!
      • They called for rooms, and he showed them one.
    2. (intransitive) To cry or shout.
      • 1598–1599 (first performance), William Shakespeare, “Much Adoe about Nothing”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene iii]:
        You must call to the nurse.
      • , Merrow Down
        For far — oh, very far behind, / So far she cannot call to him, / Comes Tegumai alone to find / The daughter that was all to him!
    3. (transitive) To utter in a loud or distinct voice.
      to call the roll of a military company
      • no parish clerk who calls the psalm so clear
    4. (transitive, intransitive) To contact by telephone.
      Why don't you call me in the morning?  Why don't you call tomorrow?
    5. (transitive) To declare in advance.
      The captains call the coin toss.
    6. To rouse from sleep; to awaken.
      • 1611 April (first recorded performance), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Cymbeline”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene ii]:
        If thou canst awake by four o' the clock, / I prithee call me. Sleep hath seized me wholly.
    7. To declare (an effort or project) to be a failure.
      After the third massive failure, John called the whole initiative.
  2. (heading, intransitive) To visit.
    1. To pay a (social) visit often used with "on", "round", or "at"; used by salespeople with "again" to invite customers to come again.
      We could always call on a friend.  The engineer called round whilst you were away.
      • He ordered her to call at the house once a week.
    2. To stop at a station or port.
      This train calls at Reading, Slough and London Paddington.  Our cruise ship called at Bristol Harbour.
  3. (heading) To name, identify or describe.
    1. (ditransitive) To name or refer to.
      Why don't we dispense with the formalities. Please call me Al.
      • 1920, Mary Roberts Rinehart; Avery Hopwood, chapter I, in The Bat: A Novel from the Play (Dell Book; 241), New York, N.Y.: Dell Publishing Company, OCLC 20230794 ↗, [;view=1up;seq=5 page 01]:
        The Bat—they called him the Bat. Like a bat he chose the night hours for his work of rapine; like a bat he struck and vanished, pouncingly, noiselessly; like a bat he never showed himself to the face of the day.
      • 2016, [ VOA Learning English] (public domain)
        I am your boss, Caty Weaver. But, please call me Caty. ― Thank you, Ms. Weaver. ― Just Caty. ― Sure thing, Ms. Weaver. ― Okay then.
    2. (in passive) Of a person, to have as one's name; of a thing, to have as its name.
      I'm called John.  A very tall building is called a skyscraper.
    3. (transitive) To predict.
      He called twelve of the last three recessions.
    4. To state, or estimate, approximately or loosely; to characterize without strict regard to fact.
      They call the distance ten miles.  That's enough work. Let's call it a day and go home.
      • [The] army is called seven hundred thousand men.
    5. (obsolete) To disclose the class or character of; to identify.
      • c. 1608–1610, Francis Beaumont; John Fletcher, “Philaster: Or, Love Lies a Bleeding”, in Comedies and Tragedies […], London: Printed for Humphrey Robinson, […], and for Humphrey Moseley […], published 1679, OCLC 3083972 ↗, Act 1, scene 1:
        This speech calls him Spaniard.
  4. (heading, sport) Direct or indirect use of the voice.
    1. (cricket) (of a batsman): To shout directions to the other batsman on whether or not they should take a run.
    2. (baseball, cricket) (of a fielder): To shout to other fielders that he intends to take a catch (thus avoiding collisions).
    3. (intransitive, poker) To equal the same amount that other players are currently betting.
      I bet $800 and Jane raised to $1600. My options: call (match her $1600 bet), reraise or fold.
    4. (intransitive, poker, proscribed) To match the current bet amount, in preparation for a raise in the same turn. (Usually, players are forbidden to announce one's play this way.)
      I'll call your 300, and raise to 600!
    5. (transitive) To state, or invoke a rule, in many games such as bridge, craps, jacks, and so on.
      My partner called two spades.
  5. (transitive, sometimes with for) To require, demand#Verb|demand.
    He felt called to help the old man.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter II, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314 ↗, page 0147 ↗:
      Carried somehow, somewhither, for some reason, on these surging floods, were these travelers, of errand not wholly obvious to their fellows, yet of such sort as to call into query alike the nature of their errand and their own relations.
  6. (transitive, finance) To announce the early extinction of a debt by prepayment, usually at a premium.
  7. (transitive, banking) To demand repayment of a loan.
  8. (transitive, computing) To jump to (another part of a program) to perform some operation, returning to the original point on completion.
    A recursive function is one that calls itself.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
Proper noun
  1. Surname


call (uncountable)

  1. Initialism of computer-assisted language learning

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