call·​ing | \ ˈkȯ-liŋ How to pronounce calling (audio) \

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 Each Real Housewives franchise has its own calling card and, for better or for worse, Beverly Hills' is its self-awareness. Jodi Walker,, "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," 23 Apr. 2020 The label has become a calling card for Millie, especially while social distancing, thanks to their oversized athleisure vibe. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Millie Bobby Brown Matching Her Outfit to Her Slippers is a Social Distancing Mood," 13 Apr. 2020 As his calling card, Parnas sent a copy of the letter Giuliani had sent to Zelensky to prove his association. Anchorage Daily News, "Parnas ties Pence’s snub of Ukraine to Giuliani’s efforts," 17 Jan. 2020 The thump in the bat is generally the calling card. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Reliever Alex Claudio returns to Brewers; infielder Ronny Rodríguez claimed from Detroit," 9 Dec. 2019 For a team whose new scoring options may take some time to jell, defense will likely still be its calling card. Nathan Brown, Indianapolis Star, "T.J. Warren was one of the NBA's worst defenders. Can he be Pacers' next transformation?," 22 Oct. 2019 Sanders isn’t a reboot guy—consistency, of message and affect, is his calling card. Eric Lach, The New Yorker, "Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Make a Show of Force in Queens," 19 Oct. 2019 But in her short time in Hollywood, portraying raw, complex female characters on the cusp of self-actualization has become her calling card. Nona Willis Aronowitz, Teen Vogue, "Beanie Feldstein on Playing Teens, Besties, and Falling in Love," 1 Oct. 2019 But, alongside the brilliant, daring play-calling, there was a streak of fear. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "In Super Bowl LIV, Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs Won More Than the 49ers Lost," 3 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for calling

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for calling

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Calling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for calling


How to pronounce calling (audio)

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 How to pronounce calling (audio) \

Kids Definition of calling

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


call·​ing | \ ˈkȯ-liŋ How to pronounce calling (audio) \

Medical Definition of calling

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

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