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

Painter's family is now hooked, too, watching the broadcasts online and bragging on social media — even if his calling seems a bit unorthodox back home in Stanley. Rick Maese,, "He quit a State Department job to play video games. Now he's a star in NBA's 2K League.," 9 July 2018 As the younger Walker hit high school and began to grow toward a frame that now reaches over 6-foot-4, his calling became evident with every slithery move or soaring dunk. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Spurs’ new draft pick not just all talk," 23 June 2018 Scott Edward Davis seems to have missed his calling. Madeleine Marr, miamiherald, "He said he was with Homeland Security. Something didn't seem right, cops say.," 20 June 2018 For Netflix, the move provides an immediate calling card as the go-to outlet for prestige programming. The Washington Post,, "Barack and Michelle Obama going into the Netflix business, signing multi-year production deal," 22 May 2018 The most important thing to do while cold calling, and sales as a whole, for that matter, is to differentiate yourself. Steve Jagler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Jagler: The Cold Call Coach helps salespeople maximize their first impression with prospective customers," 13 July 2018 Win or lose, for many of the women running in 2018, the unexpected electoral engagement has become a calling. Rebecca Traister, The Cut, "The Other Women’s March on Washington," 19 Jan. 2018 For volunteer divers like Jaikaew, being among the Navy and the rescuers was simply a calling. Shibani Mahtani,, "A congenital hand difference isn’t enough to hold this young athlete back," 4 July 2018 Pretension, flash and lack of substance seem to be the calling card for so much of what passes for musical talent nowadays. Dave Gil De Rubio, Detroit Free Press, "Ray LaMontagne lights the way with authentic sounds, musical camaraderie," 28 June 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

10 Nov 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).


noxious or harmful

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