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call - definition and synonyms

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verb     call pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlecalling
past tensecalled
past participlecalled
  1. 1
    [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 nickname/surname/middle name:

    The teachers always called us by our surnames.

    1. a.
      to give someone or something a name or title
      call someone/something something:

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

      Have you decided what to call the dog yet?

  2. 2
    [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 is so much green.

    1. a.
      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.

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

      You owe me £5.30 – so let’s call it £5.

      Synonyms and related words
    3. c.
      to describe yourself in a particular way
      call yourself something:

      He has no right to call himself a socialist.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to telephone someone

    He called her from the station.

    For more information call 0800 521 382.

    call (someone) to do something:

    Let’s meet next Friday – I’ll call to confirm.

    Synonyms and related words
    See also collect
  4. 4
    [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 to do something:

    He called to the driver to stop.

    call to someone for something:

    Paul called to the waiter for another drink.

  5. 5
    [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 plane because it will soon be leaving

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

  6. 6
    [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.

    He called me over and gave me a telling-off.

    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 brigade/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 give evidence.

  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.

    He should dissolve parliament and call an election.

  8. 8
    [intransitive] if a train, bus, or ship calls somewhere, it stops there during its journey
    call at:

    This train calls at Hagley and all stations to Birmingham.

    1. a.
      to stop at a place on your way to another place, usually so that you can do something
      call at/into:

      Can you call at the shop on your way home and get some milk?

    2. b.



      call in


      call round

      to visit someone, usually for a short time

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

      call to do something:

      James called to see you.

  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
    [intransitive] if an animal calls, it makes the sound it usually makes
    1. a.
      [transitive] to make an animal come towards you by making the sound it usually makes
  11. 11
    [transitive] to make an official decision about something that happens in a sports game

    The ball was called out.

  12. 12
    [intransitive/transitive] to say which of the four suits of cards will be trumps (=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
  13. 13
    [intransitive/transitive] to tell dancers which movements to make, especially for a square dance
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