\ˈkȯl \

Definition of call 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : 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

1a(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 (a sports event, such 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 (game) by imitating the characteristic cry

i : to halt (something, such as a baseball game) because of unsuitable conditions

j : to rule on the status of (a pitched ball, a player's action, etc.) 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 (something, such as a bond or option) for redemption The bonds could be called 10 years after issue.

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

2a : 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 He called the upward trend of the stock market in February.

(2) : to name or specify in advance call the toss of a coin

3 : to temporarily transfer control of computer processing to (something, such as a subroutine or procedure)

call a spade a spade

1 : to call a thing by its right name however coarse

2 : to speak frankly Why don't you just call a spade a spade and say that he is a liar?

call for

1 : to call (as at one's house) to get I'll call for you after dinner

2 : to require as necessary or appropriate the job calls for typing skills the design calls for three windows

call forth

: elicit, evoke these events call forth great emotions

call in question or call into question

: to cast doubt upon a report calling into question the drug's effectiveness

call it a day

: to stop for the remainder of the day or for the present whatever one has been doing worked another couple of hours and then called it a day

call it quits

: to call it a day : quit

call names

: to address or speak of a person or thing contemptuously or offensively

call on

1 : to call upon Is there anyone you can call on in an emergency?

2 : to elicit a response from (someone, such as a student) the teacher called on her first

call one's bluff

: to challenge in order to expose an empty pretense or threat I called his bluff just to see if he really meant what he said.— Brandy Rankins

call the shots

: to be in charge or control : determine the policy or procedure The secretary called the shots all through the meeting.

call the tune

: to call the shots

call time

: to ask for or grant a time-out

call to account

: to hold responsible : reprimand He was called to account by his boss for making the error.

call upon

1 : require, oblige may be called upon to do several jobs

2 : to make a demand on : depend on universities are called upon to produce trained professionals



Definition of call (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an act of calling with the voice : shout a call for help

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 (such as a bird)

2a : 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 the quarterback's call in the huddle

3a : demand, claim The aircraft industry continues to have first call on aluminum production.Americana Annual

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 (such as stock) or commodity (such as wheat) at a fixed price at or within a specified time — compare put sense 2

e : an instance of asking for something : request many calls for Christmas stories

4 : roll call

5 : a short usually formal visit pay a call on a neighbor

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 made a call to the mayor

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 sense 1 a tough call to make

11 : a temporary transfer of control of computer processing to a particular set of instructions (such as a subroutine or procedure)

at call or on call

1a : available for use : at the service of thousands of men at his call

b : ready to respond to a summons or command a doctor on call

2 : subject to demand for payment or return without previous notice money lent at call

within call

: within hearing or reach of a summons : subject to summons

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Choose the Right Synonym for call


summon, call, cite, convoke, convene, muster mean to demand the presence of. summon implies the exercise of authority. was summoned to answer charges call may be used less formally for summon. called the legislature into special session cite implies a summoning to court usually to answer a charge. cited for drunken driving convoke implies a summons to assemble for deliberative or legislative purposes. convoked a Vatican council convene is somewhat less formal than convoke. convened the students muster suggests a calling up of a number of things that form a group in order that they may be exhibited, displayed, or utilized as a whole. mustered the troops

Examples of call in a Sentence


He called to passersby for help. She called up to her husband, who was at the top of the stairs. Her husband called back down to her. She saw her friends across the street and called over to them. He called her name in his sleep. The birds were calling as the sun rose. I call once a week to talk to my parents. Where are you calling from? May I say who's calling? I try to call my parents at least once a week.


A local call costs less than a long-distance or an international call. If there are any calls for me during the meeting, say that I'll call back later. I got a call from my brother last night. He gave a call to passersby for help. We heard a bird that had a very loud and unusual call. He's an expert at doing bird calls. He has a large collection of duck calls. the call of a trumpet The government has issued a call to its supporters to defend it and hopes they will answer its call. The campaigners renewed their calls for reform.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Anonymous tips may be provided by calling 708-434-1636 or given online at Steve Schering,, "Police: Armed men swipe cash register, rob customer at Oak Park Subway restaurant," 14 July 2018 In the wake of the incident, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle offered her apology to Irizarry and took the unusual step of calling Ricardo Rossello, the governor of Puerto Rico. CBS News, "Woman harassed over Puerto Rican flag shirt says officer "blatantly ignored" her pleas for help," 13 July 2018 That gave mother and child enough time to take off, hide in tall vegetation and call 911. Teri Figueroa,, "Woman stabs alleged assailant, hides in brush with child until help comes," 13 July 2018 Critics call it a smokescreen to reduce the judiciary’s independence to ensure the increasingly authoritarian party’s grip on power. Kristen Chick, The Christian Science Monitor, "By staying on the job, Poland's top judge fights the right-wing government," 13 July 2018 Related stories from Sacramento Bee How to stay safe from mosquitoes The district asks people who see a bird dead for less than 24 hours to report it online on the website or by calling 1-877-WNV-BIRD. Hannah Holzer, sacbee, "Vigilance urged as Sacramento region leads state in West Nile virus activity," 12 July 2018 For ticket information, go to or call the Kane County Cougars box office at 630-232-8811. Staff Report, Aurora Beacon-News, "Arcada Theatre in St. Charles to show World Cup final on its big screen," 11 July 2018 Detectives posted fake ads on websites known to advertise prostitution and the men who called the number listed on the ad spoke with an undercover female officer who provided a meeting location, police said. Jess Nocera, Howard County Times, "Six men accused by Howard police of trying to hire prostitutes," 11 July 2018 Relatives and friends may call for visitation on Monday from 10:00 until 11:00 AM at the church prior to the Mass. Hartford Courant,, "Ann Kelly," 14 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

So, when a friend suggested Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Jimenez took the call, and personally suggested following up, according to a letter Novartis sent to senators in June and publicly released Friday. Ike Swetlitz, STAT, "Novartis needed a consultant. Over dinner, the CEO’s friend called Trump’s lawyer," 13 July 2018 By the end of the recent conference call, Tech for Campaigns had persuaded Ms. Eskamani, the Florida House candidate, to start running ads on her social media accounts. New York Times, "4,500 Tech Workers, 1 Mission: Get Democrats Elected," 13 July 2018 The marketing firm on the call, Laundry Service, later terminated their contract with Papa John’s. Michael Bartiromo, Fox News, "Mayor removes 'Papa John' Schnatter's name from hometown gym in wake of controversy, mails back $400K donation," 13 July 2018 Umpires have called balls on 57 pitches to Trout that actually were in the zone—the most favorable blown calls for any hitter in baseball. Tom Verducci,, "The Star That Still Won't Shine: The Incredible, Unprecedented but Unseen Greatness of Mike Trout," 12 July 2018 But then came the sudden call on July 2, informing staff that their campus was shuttering, and with it, their jobs. Annabelle Williams,, "Art Institute of Philadelphia closing leaves students and employees with hard decisions," 12 July 2018 The strategy call, made by crew chief Eddie Troconis, paid off. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville native Ben Rhodes takes NASCAR victory at Kentucky Speedway," 12 July 2018 There are calls to make, reports to finish, messages to return, files to update, etc. Melissa Locker, ajc, "Here’s why you should stop checking your email in the morning," 10 July 2018 That wedding weekend led to daily texting, which led to phone calls, which led to four more weddings together that summer, which led to he’s my boyfriend again. Deanna Pai, The Cut, "What to Know Before Getting Back Together With an Ex," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'call.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of call


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for call


Middle English, from Old Norse kalla; akin to Old English hildecalla battle herald, Old High German kallōn to talk loudly, Old Church Slavonic glasŭ voice


see call entry 1

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Learn More about call

Statistics for call

Last Updated

21 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for call

The first known use of call was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for call



Financial Definition of call

What It Is

A call option gives the holder the right, but not the obligation, to purchase an asset at a specified strike price on or before the option's expiration date.

How It Works

Options are derivative instruments, meaning that their prices are derived from the price of another security. More specifically, options prices are derived from the price of an underlying stock. For example, let's say you purchase a call option on shares of Intel (INTC) with a strike price of $40 and an expiration date of April 16th. This option would give you the right to purchase 100 shares of Intel at a price of $40 on April 16th (the right to do this, of course, will only be valuable if Intel is trading above $40 per share at that point in time). Note that the expiration date always fall on the third Friday of the month in which the option is scheduled to expire.

Every option represents a contract between a buyer and seller. The seller (writer) has the obligation to either buy or sell stock (depending on what type of option he or she sold -- either a call option or a put option) to the buyer at a specified price by a specified date. Meanwhile, the buyer of an options contract has the right, but not the obligation, to complete the transaction by a specified date. When an option expires, if it is not in the buyer's best interest to exercise the option, then he or she is not obligated to do anything. The buyer has purchased the option to carry out a certain transaction in the future -- hence the name.

As a quick example of how call options make money, let's say IBM stock is currently trading at $100 per share. Now let's say an investor purchases one call option contract on IBM at a price of $2 per contract. Note: Because each options contract represents an interest in 100 underlying shares of stock, the actual cost of this option will be $200 (100 shares x $2 = $200).

Here's what will happen to the value of this call option under a variety of different scenarios:

When the option expires, IBM is trading at $105

Remember: The call option gives the buyer the right to purchase shares of IBM at $100 per share. In this scenario, the buyer could use the option to purchase those shares at $100, then immediately sell those same shares in the open market for $105. This option is therefore called “in the money.” Because of this, the option will sell for $5.00 on the expiration date (because each option represents an interest in 100 underlying shares, this will amount to a total sale price of $500). Because the investor purchased this option for $200, the net profit to the buyer from this trade will be $300.

When the option expires, IBM is trading at $101

Using the same analysis as shown above, the call option will now be worth $1 (or $100 total). Since the investor spent $200 to purchase the option in the first place, he or she will show a net loss on this trade of $1 (or $100 total). This option would be called “at the money,” because the transaction is essentially a wash.

When the option expires, IBM is trading at or below $100

If IBM ends up at or below $100 on the option's expiration date, then contract will expire “out of the money.” It will now be worthless, so the option buyer will lose 100% of his or her money (in this case, the full $200 that he or she spent for the option).

Why It Matters

Investors use options for two primary reasons--to speculate and to hedge risk. All of us are familiar with the speculation side of investing. Every time you buy a stock you are essentially speculating on the direction the stock will move. You might say that you are positive that IBM is heading higher as you buy the stock, and indeed more often than not you may even be right.

However, if you were absolutely positive that IBM was going to head sharply higher, then you would invest everything you had in the stock. Rational investors realize there is no "sure thing," as every investment incurs at least some risk. This risk is what the investor is compensated for when he or she purchases an asset. When you purchase options to speculate on future stock price movements, you are limiting your downside risk, yet your upside earnings potential is unlimited.

Hedging is like buying insurance--it is protection against unforeseen events, but you hope you never have to use it. Consider why almost everyone buys homeowner's insurance: because the odds of having one’s house destroyed are relatively small, this may seem like a foolish investment.

But our homes are very valuable to us and we would be devastated by their loss. This fear of loss is why most of us happily pay someone else to bear this risk for us, no matter how remote the chances of loss might be. Using options to hedge your portfolio essentially does the same thing.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of call

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to speak in a loud voice

: to announce or read (something) in a loud voice

of a bird or animal : to make the sound that is usual for a particular type of bird or animal



English Language Learners Definition of call (Entry 2 of 2)

: an act of using the telephone : an act of calling someone on the telephone

: an act of calling with the voice : a loud cry or shout

: the sound made by an animal or bird


\ˈkȯl \
called; calling

Kids Definition of call

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to speak in a loud clear voice so as to be heard at a distance : shout I called for help.

2 : to announce or read (something) loudly He called the roll.

3 : to tell, order, or ask to come Please call everyone to dinner.

4 : to give the order for call a meeting

5 : to utter a cry birds calling

6 : to get in touch with by telephone He calls home every day.

7 : to make a short visit She called at a neighbor's house.

8 : name entry 2 sense 1 I called the cat “Patches.”

9 : to address someone or something as What did you call me?

10 : to regard as being of a certain kind Would you call that generous?

11 : to say or guess what the result will be The election is too close to call.

12 : to estimate as being Let's call it an even dollar.

13 : suspend sense 4, end The game was called on account of rain.

call for

1 : to require as necessary or suitable We'll do whatever is called for.

2 : to make a request or demand The newspaper called for an investigation.

call off

1 : cancel sense 2 The party was called off.

2 : to cause or tell to stop attacking or chasing Call off your dog.

call on

1 : to choose to answer The teacher called on me first.

2 visit call on a friend

call out

1 : to speak in a loud voice Nokomis snored and often talked in her sleep, calling out to people from long ago.— Louise Erdrich, The Birchbark House

2 : to announce or read (something) loudly call out a number

3 : to order (a group of people) to come or go somewhere call out the troops

call to mind

: to cause to be thought of or remembered



Kids Definition of call (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a loud shout or cry

2 : a cry of an animal

3 : a loud sound or signal a bugle call

4 : a public request or command The group renewed their calls for change.

5 : request entry 1 sense 1 The library gets many calls for mystery books.

6 : a short visit

7 : something called or announced That was the last call for passengers to board.

8 : the act of calling on the telephone

9 : decision sense 1 It was a tough call to make.

10 : the attraction or appeal of a particular place or condition call of the wild

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Legal Definition of call 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to announce or recite loudly called the civil trial list

2 : to admit (a person) as a barrister was called to the bar

3 : to demand payment of especially by formal notice call a loan

4 : to demand presentation of (as a bond or option) for redemption

Note: A security issuer may call a security only if calling it is previously provided for, as, for example, in the indenture for a bond or in the stock agreement for preferred stock. The issuer usually pays the holder a premium for a called security.



Legal Definition of call (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a demand for payment of money: as

a : a notice by the U.S. Treasury to depositories to transfer part of its deposit balance to the Federal Reserve bank

b : a notice to a stockholder or subscriber to pay an assessment or an installment of subscription to capital

2 : call option at option 3

3a : a formal announcement or recitation the daily call of the motion calendar

b : roll call the speaker ordered a call of the house

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Comments on call

What made you want to look up call? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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