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call - definition and synonyms

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verb     call pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlecalling
past tensecalled
past participlecalled
  1. 1
    [transitive] [often passive] to ask or tell someone to come to a place, usually so that you can talk to them
    call someone across/up/over/to etc.:

    She called me up to the office to explain the new policy.

    He called me over and gave me a talking-to.

    be called to a meeting/the telephone:

    He’s been called to a meeting with the vice-president.

    be called before something:

    Robinson was called before the commission last week.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to telephone a person or organization that provides a service and ask them to come

      Can you call a taxi for me?

      call the police/the fire department/an ambulance:

      Jack went to call an ambulance.

      be called to something:

      Firefighters were called to a blaze at a school.

    2. b.
      [transitive] to order someone to be present or give evidence in a court of law

      She was scared she would be called to testify.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] to speak loudly, or to shout to someone who is not near you

    Did you call me?

    Her father called up the stairs.

    call to someone for something:

    Paul called to the waiter for another drink.

    call to someone to do something:

    He called to the driver to stop.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to telephone someone

    He called her from the hospital.

    For more information call 1–800–555–3820.

    call (someone) to do something:

    I’ll call to confirm the time of the meeting.

    See also collect
  4. 4
    [transitive] to describe or refer to someone or something in a particular way
    call someone/something something:

    The President called him “a genuine hero.”

    I would call what’s happening there a war.

    sometimes/commonly/often called:

    It is sometimes called the Garden State because there are so many areas with trees and plants.

    1. a.
      to say that something is a particular amount, although this is not the exact amount
      call something something:

      You owe me $5.08, so let’s call it five even.

      Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      to criticize someone, or to say unpleasant things about them
      call someone something:

      They called me stupid and useless.

      Are you calling me a liar?

      call someone names (=unpleasant names):

      The other children teased her and called her names.

    3. c.
      to describe yourself in a particular way
      call yourself something:

      He has no right to call himself a good neighbor.

  5. 5
    [transitive] to use a particular name or title for someone
    call someone something:

    Her name’s Elizabeth, but we call her Liz.

    call someone by their first name/last name/nickname:

    The teachers always called us by our last names.

    1. a.
      to give someone or something a name or title

      Have you decided what to call the dog yet?

      call someone/something something:

      If the baby is a boy, they’ll call him William.

  6. 6
    [transitive] to say loudly the names or numbers on a list

    When I call your name, raise your hand.

    1. a.
      to announce that passengers should go to their airplane because it will soon be leaving

      It’ll be another 45 minutes before our flight is called.

  7. 7
    [transitive] to announce that an event such as a meeting or election is going to happen

    Harris wants to call a meeting to discuss the new proposals.

    The country should dissolve its parliament and call an election.

  8. 8
    [intransitive] if an animal calls, it makes the sound it usually makes
    1. a.
      [transitive] to make an animal come toward you by making the sound it usually makes
  9. 9
    [intransitive/transitive] to say what you think will happen, for example in politics or business
    hard/difficult to call:

    The situation in the East is hard to call.

    It’s very difficult to call the market.

    1. a.
      to say which side of a coin you think will be showing when it comes down after being tossed in the air
      call heads/tails:

      When Neil tossed the coin, she called heads and won.

      Synonyms and related words
    See also close
  10. 10
    [transitive] American to ask for a time-out (=a short period when play stops) during a sports game

    The referees called time while the clock was reset.

    1. a.
    2. b.
      to make an official decision about something that happens in a sports game

      When the umpire called him out, the fans went wild.

  11. 11
    [intransitive/transitive] to say which of the four suits of cards will be trump (=cards with a higher value) in a card game
    1. a.
      [transitive] to tell someone that they must show their cards in some card games
  12. 12
    [intransitive/transitive] to tell dancers which movements to make, especially for a square dance
  13. 13
    [transitive] American mainly journalism to describe on television or radio what is happening in a race or game
  14. 14
    [intransitive] mainly British if a train, bus, or ship calls somewhere, it stops there during its trip
    1. a.
      to stop at a place on your way to another place, usually so that you can do something
    2. b.



      call in

      to visit someone, usually for a short time

      I’ll call tomorrow and we can discuss it then.

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