call·​back ˈkȯl-ˌbak How to pronounce callback (audio)
plural callbacks
: a return call
Coming up with a solid reason for one more callback, finding a way to get hold of someone "impossible" to reach, getting the order in before the competition can even quote prices—these are what professional selling is all about …Jack Falvey
I know how this works, so I won't hold my breath. Meanwhile, I'm papering my cubical walls with memos to myself reminding me I'm still waiting for a callback from thus-and-such public-information office.Denise Civiletti
: recall sense 5
product callbacks
: an instance of requesting or directing someone to return: such as
: a recall of an employee to work after a layoff
… worked at Fairfield for two years and was involved in the layoff and callback earlier this year.Max Showalter
: a second or additional audition (as for a theatrical part)
… will be weeding through the 50 young actors displaying their talents this afternoon to arrive at a short list of those deemed worthy of an immediate callback interview.Richard Conniff
: something (such as a comment, image, or character) that evokes an earlier instance
"Most of the characters are going to be new. We do have a few callbacks, a couple of cameos that kind of come up from previous games. …"James Lopez
often used with to
… Emmy-winning 30Rock, which is shot through with inside jokes and tightly woven callbacks to past episodes …James Poniewozik… there are callbacks in the show to the events taking place in the movie.Rayan Sayyed… Connelly and Cruise also share a scene on the back of a motorcycle that is a visual callback to one of the most famous images from the original film …Zach Seemayer[Serena Williams'] beaded hoop earrings were a callback to the beaded braids she wore in her youth.Sandra E. Garcia and Antonio de Luca

Example Sentences

She got constant callbacks from the salesman even after she asked him to stop calling. With the latest callback, the factory will employ 30,000 workers. If he used better materials, he wouldn't have so many callbacks.
Recent Examples on the Web Then came an online callback, a first trip to New York for an in-person audition, and an offer — for a short run, Off Broadway, but still. Michael Paulson, New York Times, 26 Apr. 2023 And the helmet remains unique – while providing a callback to Pittsburgh's industrial history – with the trio of hypocycloids in the logo (which appears only the right side of the helmet) evoking the Steelmark symbol used by the American Iron and Steel Institute. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 21 Apr. 2023 The city’s bid centered on Georgia’s swing-state politics, replete with callbacks to Biden’s 2020 flip of the state in the presidential election and the victories by Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock in the 2021 U.S. Senate runoffs that swung control of the chamber to Democrats. Greg Bluestein The Atlanta Journal-constitution (tns), al, 12 Apr. 2023 The Ioniq 6 feels like a pastiche of 1930s-era aerodynamic streamlined cars like the Chrysler Airflow or the Stout Scarab, but mixed in with an obscure callback to 1990s-era efforts from Hyundai itself. Kevin Williams, Popular Science, 10 Apr. 2023 Marren Morris earned herself a callback for a new rendition of Wicked. Vulture, 12 Aug. 2022 Despite applying to at least 10 full-time journalism positions in the Salt Lake City area, Christensen received only one callback. J.j. Mccorvey, NBC News, 5 May 2023 Plexamp, my music player, mostly just connects to my Plex server with occasional callbacks to the Plex service. Justin Pot, Popular Science, 24 Apr. 2023 Kylie Jenner's latest look is a fun callback to her King Kylie era. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 24 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'callback.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1890, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of callback was in 1890

Dictionary Entries Near callback

Cite this Entry

“Callback.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


call·​back ˈkȯl-ˌbak How to pronounce callback (audio)
: a return call

More from Merriam-Webster on callback

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