call·​ing ˈkȯ-liŋ How to pronounce calling (audio)
: a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence
: the vocation or profession in which one customarily engages
: the characteristic cry of a female cat in heat
also : the period of heat
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 Starbucks is also helping in the search, sharing Crawford's calling for that person to come forward. Angela Andaloro, Peoplemag, 15 May 2024 Those with a strong calling will be more engaged and satisfied with their work and will be happier in their lives as well. Jennifer Tosti-Kharas, The Conversation, 15 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for calling 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'calling.' 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

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near calling

Cite this Entry

“Calling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

Medical Definition


call·​ing ˈkȯ-liŋ How to pronounce calling (audio)
: the characteristic cry of a female cat in heat
also : the period of heat

More from Merriam-Webster on calling

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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