Etymology: Middle English, from Old Norse kalla; akin to Old English hildecalla battle herald, Old High German kallōn to talk loudly, Old Church Slavic glasŭ voice
Date: before 12th century
a. to speak in a loud distinct voice so as to be heard at a distance ; shout <call for help> b. to make a request or demand <call for an investigation> c. of an animal to utter a characteristic note or cry d. to get or try to get into communication by telephone <just called to say hello> — often used with up e. to make a demand in card games (as for a particular card or for a show of hands) f. to give the calls for a square dance 2. to make a brief visit <called to pay his respects> <called on a friend> transitive verb 1. a. (1) to utter in a loud distinct voice — often used with out <call out a number> (2) to announce or read loudly or authoritatively <call the roll> <call off a row of figures> (3) to announce the play-by-play of (as a football game) b. (1) to command or request to come or be present <was called to testify> (2) to cause to come ; bring <calls to mind an old saying> c. to summon to a particular activity, employment, or office <was called to active duty> <was called to the bar of justice> d. to invite or command to meet ; convoke <call a meeting> e. to rouse from sleep or summon to get up f. (1) to give the order for ; bring into action <call a strike against the company> <call a pitchout> (2) to manage by giving the signals or orders <that catcher calls a good game> g. (1) to make a demand in bridge for (a card or suit) (2) to require (a player) to show the hand in poker by making an equal bet (3) to challenge to make good on a statement (4) to charge with or censure for an offense <deserves to be called on that> h. to attract (as game) by imitating the characteristic cry i. to halt (as a baseball game) because of unsuitable conditions j. to rule on the status of (as a pitched ball or a player's action) <call balls and strikes> <call a base runner safe> k. to give the calls for (a square dance) — often used with off l. (1) to demand payment of especially by formal notice <call a loan> (2) to demand presentation of (as a bond or option) for redemption m. (1) to get or try to get in communication with by telephone <call the doctor to make an appointment> (2) to generate signals for (a telephone number) in order to reach the party to whom the number is assigned <call 911> (3) to make a signal to in order to transmit a message <call the flagship> 2. a. to speak of or address by a specified name ; give a name to <call her Kitty> b. (1) to regard or characterize as of a certain kind ; consider <can hardly be called generous> (2) to estimate or consider for purposes of an estimate or for convenience <call it an even dollar> c. (1) to describe correctly in advance of or without knowledge of the event ; predict (2) to name or specify in advance <call the toss of a coin> 3. to temporarily transfer control of computer processing to (as a subroutine or procedure) Synonyms: see summon II. noun Date: 14th century 1. a. an act of calling with the voice ; shout b. an imitation of the cry of a bird or other animal made to attract it c. an instrument used for calling <a duck call> d. the cry of an animal (as a bird) 2. a. a request or command to come or assemble b. a summons or signal on a drum, bugle, or pipe c. admission to the bar as a barrister d. an invitation to become the minister of a church or to accept a professional appointment e. a divine vocation or strong inner prompting to a particular course of action f. a summoning of actors to rehearsal <the call is for 11 o'clock> g. the attraction or appeal of a particular activity, condition, or place <the call of the wild> h. an order specifying the number of men to be inducted into the armed services during a specified period i. the selection of a play in football 3. a. demand, claim b. need, justification <there's no call for such behavior> c. a demand for payment of money d. an option to buy a specified amount of a security (as stock) or commodity (as wheat) at a fixed price at or within a specified time — compare put 2 e. an instance of asking for something ; request <many calls for Christmas stories> 4. roll call 5. a short usually formal visit 6. the name or thing called <the call was heads> 7. the act of calling in a card game 8. the act of calling on the telephone 9. a direction or a succession of directions for a square dance rhythmically called to the dancers 10. a decision or ruling made by an official of a sports contest; also decision 1 <a tough call to make> 11. a temporary transfer of control of computer processing to a particular set of instructions (as a subroutine or procedure)
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.