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

Speaking from the floor of the convention hall, Walker sought to provide a wake-up call and some inspiration for the delegates, detail past successes and lay out an agenda for the future. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Scott Walker delivers upbeat speech and rouses delegates at GOP convention in Milwaukee," 12 May 2018 Let this be your wake-up call in terms of personal ethics. Amy Dickinson, chicagotribune.com, "Friendship is tested by sexual come-on," 29 Mar. 2018 Let this be your wake-up call in terms of personal ethics. Amy Dickinson, BostonGlobe.com, "Friendship is tested by sexual come-on," 27 Mar. 2018 In many senses, it’s given us a little bit of a wake-up call. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "When the U.S. Misses the World Cup, Does It Make a Sound?," 20 June 2018 The meddling in the 2016 presidential election was a wake-up call for those who oversee elections. Adrian Walker, BostonGlobe.com, "A major fight looms for Beacon Hill’s ‘Prince of Darkness’," 5 June 2018 After coming within one point of an undefeated regular season (a 43–42 loss to Pitt in November served as a wake-up call), Clemson put up the second shutout in CFP semifinal history and prevailed in a thrilling finale. Joan Niesen, SI.com, "The College Football Playoff's Sweet 16: Imagining the Ultimate Bracket," 20 Mar. 2018 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

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

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

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).


playful or foolish behavior

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