wake-up call


Definition of wake-up call 

1 : something (such as a telephone call from a hotel employee to a guest) that serves to wake a sleeper

2 : something that serves to alert a person to a problem, danger, or need a wake-up call to parents

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Synonyms for wake-up call


caution, tip-off, tocsin, warning

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Examples of wake-up call in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Nevertheless, his fiery rhetoric and scathing critique of church, academy and society was a wake-up call to the entire Christian community. Eboni Marshall Turman, The Root, "‘If God Is White, Kill God’: Why Dr. James Cone Was Once the Most Hated Theologian in America," 7 May 2018 But Game 2 was a serious wake-up call, raising questions about the Warriors’ depth and the personnel involved. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "The Warriors’ bench, and the whiff of nostalgia," 18 May 2018 In the Palermo painting, then, the poor and infirm mirror the wealthy youths by the fountain—both groups focused on their bodies’ well-being, both in need of a spiritual wake-up call. Lee Lawrence, WSJ, "Intimations of Medieval Mortality," 29 June 2018 The fact that their results show quite similar trends should be a wake-up call. National Geographic, "Hurricanes Are Moving Slower—And That's a Huge Problem," 6 June 2018 Officials said the fiery explosion threatened to contaminate the Mississippi River and should serve as a wake-up call to be better prepared in case a similar event happened in a metropolitan area. Sarah Freishtat, Aurora Beacon-News, "More, longer trains pose concern for suburban leaders after Aurora derailment," 1 June 2018 Who needs a noisy alarm clock with a wake-up call like this? Steve Annear, BostonGlobe.com, "Hot air balloon makes ‘unexpected’ landing in Methuen neighborhood," 27 June 2018 Consider Ross's dedication your welcome wake-up call. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Tracee Ellis Ross Has a Better Body Than Most 20 Year Olds—And This Workout is Why," 27 June 2018 Let today serve as a wake-up call to all of us to find these campaigns, support them, and end the 200-year-old scam of gerrymandering - state by state. Jessica Estepa, USA TODAY, "Arnold Schwarzenegger weighs in on partisan districts punt: 'It is a call to action'," 18 June 2018

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

1974, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for wake-up call

The first known use of wake-up call was in 1974

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More Definitions for wake-up call

wake-up call


English Language Learners Definition of wake-up call

: a telephone call that a hotel makes to your room to wake you up

: something that makes you fully understand a problem, danger, or need

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Comments on wake-up call

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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