call·​ing | \ˈkȯ-liŋ \

Definition of calling 

1 : a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence

2 : the vocation or profession in which one customarily engages

3 : the characteristic cry of a female cat in heat also : the period of heat

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Choose the Right Synonym for calling

work, employment, occupation, calling, pursuit, métier, business mean a specific sustained activity engaged in especially in earning one's living. work may apply to any purposeful activity whether remunerative or not. her work as a hospital volunteer employment implies work for which one has been engaged and is being paid by an employer. your employment with this firm is hereby terminated occupation implies work in which one engages regularly especially as a result of training. his occupation as a trained auto mechanic calling applies to an occupation viewed as a vocation or profession. the ministry seemed my true calling pursuit suggests a trade, profession, or avocation followed with zeal or steady interest. her family considered medicine the only proper pursuit métier implies a calling or pursuit for which one believes oneself to be especially fitted. acting was my one and only métier business suggests activity in commerce or the management of money and affairs. the business of managing a hotel

Examples of calling in a Sentence

He had always felt a calling to help others. He experienced a calling to enter the priesthood.

Recent Examples on the Web

The calling of snap elections then triggers a 60- to 90-day process that includes primary contests among Israel’s major parties. Dov Lieber, WSJ, "Netanyahu Coalition Partner Joins Push for Early Elections," 16 Nov. 2018 This isn't the first incident this year where people have questioned the calling of police on black students on college campuses. Charlotte West, Teen Vogue, "University of Texas San Antonio Professor Allegedly Calls Police on Black Student for Putting Feet Up," 13 Nov. 2018 Proceeds from the sale will help fund the refurbishing of the rectory in preparation for the calling of a new priest. Staff Report, Daily Southtown, "Church news," 10 July 2018 Print subscribers get a password for your existing account here Richard Perez, president of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, has framed the RK Group’s subcontract in the desert outside El Paso as practically a humanitarian calling. Brian Chasnoff, San Antonio Express-News, "Chambers split on RK Group subcontract," 2 July 2018 Video calling, however, is purchased directly by inmates' loved ones and will not lead to more commissions for the department. Ben Conarck,, "Florida prisons add for-profit services, consider visitation cuts," 10 June 2018 Thousands of Google employees signed a petition in April calling on CEO Sundar Pichai to cancel the partnership. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Google Makes a Vague Pledge to Limit Work on Artificial Intelligence in Weapons, Surveillance," 7 June 2018 The decision comes after California passed a law in 2015 calling for agencies to direct utilities to invest in electrifying transportation to help cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40%, compared with 1990 levels, by 2030. Bloomberg,, "California OKs record-high investment in utilities' electric-vehicle programs," 31 May 2018 The question now: Has Bakker repented and found a genuine calling to help Christians prepare for the End Times forecast in the Bible? Tim Funk, charlotteobserver, "Fallen PTL preacher Jim Bakker is back with a new message about the Apocalypse," 15 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'calling.' 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 calling

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for calling

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for calling

The first known use of calling was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for calling



English Language Learners Definition of calling

: a strong desire to spend your life doing a certain kind of work (such as religious work)

: the work that a person does or should be doing


call·​ing | \ˈkȯ-liŋ \

Kids Definition of calling

: a profession especially that a person feels strongly about Teaching was his true calling.


call·​ing | \ˈkȯ-liŋ \

Medical Definition of calling 

: the characteristic cry of a female cat in heat also : the period of heat

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Comments on calling

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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