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 The beer was awful, but the ability to produce it became his life's calling. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "He created the Black Is Beautiful beer initiative. Here's what he hopes happens next.," 2 July 2020 Advice on where to get groceries or takeout led to arguments and name-calling. Laura Leigh Abby, Washington Post, "The pandemic has parents stressed out. Shaming one another on Facebook isn’t the answer.," 2 July 2020 Cook tried calling and later sent a message to Bray that seemed to reference a cattle grazing agreement that Bray has with an Arizona ranch, the addendum said. Andrew Oxford, The Arizona Republic, "Witness in Rep. David Cook investigation says lawmaker sent threatening message," 29 June 2020 There are some great learning resources out there, and one of the best is Scott Threinen’s Bad Grammar Academy, which is a digital platform that takes you through all the steps of duck and goose calling. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, "How to Hunt Ducks and Geese," 26 June 2020 Video calling has changed the dynamic between analyst and patient. 1843, "The virtual couch," 26 June 2020 That is a profound and stringent definition of the writer’s calling. Paul Elie, The New Yorker, "How Racist Was Flannery O’Connor?," 15 June 2020 Trump routinely attacks people with name-calling, appeals to hypocrisy and insults to distract the nation away from criticisms made about him. Jennifer Mercieca, The Conversation, "A field guide to Trump’s dangerous rhetoric," 19 June 2020 Additionally, people who feel motivated and engaged by and passionate about their work might have experienced psychological benefits from finding their calling, Adler said. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "If losing your job to the pandemic destroyed your identity, here's how to find it," 18 June 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

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Calling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jul. 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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