Green’s Dictionary of Slang

call v.

[fig. uses of SE]

1. [mid-18C+] to beg.

2. [late 19C+] to blame.

3. [late 19C+] (US) to challenge [+ poker imagery].

4. [1980s] (Aus.) to vomit [abbr. of the various phrs. below].

Meaning to vomit

In phrases

call Charles (v.) (also call dinosaurs, call seals) [1970s+] (Aus./US)
call for Herb (v.) [1960s+] (Aus.)
call (for) Ralph (v.)

see under Ralph n.

call the dogs (v.) [one’s ‘barking’ noises] [1990s+] (US campus)

General uses

call over the coals (v.)

[19C+] to scold, to tell off.

call someone out of their name (v.)

[1900s–80s] (US black) to insult through name-calling.

call someone’s card (v.) [poker imagery]

[1980s] (US) to call someone’s bluff.

call someone’s game (v.) [poker imagery]

[1980s+] (US) to call someone’s bluff, to challenge.

call someone’s hand (v.) [poker imagery]

[mid-19C–1950s] (US) to issue a challenge, to call someone’s bluff.

SE in slang uses

Pertaining to sex

In compounds

call-boy (n.)

[1960s+] a male prostitute who can be hired on the phone.

call flat (n.) (also call apartment) [var. on call house n. (1)]

[1910s–40s] (US) a brothel.

call-girl (n.)

see separate entry.

call house (n.)

see separate entry.

General uses

In compounds

call-dog (n.) [one calls the dog to eat it]

[1940s+] (W.I.) a fish too small for human consumption.

calldown (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

call a go (v.) [mid-19C]

1. of a street-seller, to move on.

2. to give up.

call a spade a (bloody) shovel (v.)

see under spade n.

call down (v.)

see separate entry.

call full-mouth (v.) (also call raw) [fullmouth under full adj./SE raw, i.e. ‘uncooked’ by good manners]

[20C+] (W.I.) to address an elder or senior person without using Mr, Mrs or Miss.

call hogs (v.) [the noise]

[1910s–60s] (US) to snore.

call in someone’s chips (v.) [poker imagery]

[late 19C] (US) to challenge, to call someone’s bluff.

call it a day (v.) (also call it a night) [? cribbage jargon call a go, to change one’s tactics, to give in]

[mid-19C+] to stop, to go no further, to express satisfaction with progress or acceptance that one cannot improve a position.

call it george (v.) (also call it wally) [joc. generic use of proper names]

[20C+] (W.I.) to agree that a matter is concluded, to bring to an end, e.g. a day’s work.

call off all bets (v.) [poker imagery]

[1940s–50s] (US black) to die.

call on the carpet (v.) [on the carpet under carpet n.1 ]

1. [1960s] (US) to reprimand, to scold.

2. [1990s+] (US prison) to challenge another speaker to justify his remarks, whether hostile, gossiping or whatever.

call (out) (v.) [early 19C SE call out, to challenge to a duel]

1. [late 19C+] to challenge to a fight.

2. [1920s] (US Und.) to use a stolen cheque.

3. [1990s+] (US campus) to embarrass.

call the coin (v.)

[1950s+] (US) to call ‘heads or tails’ when a coin is tossed.

call the game in (v.) [lit. to bring a game, e.g. of rugby, to an end]

[1910s+] (Aus./N.Z.) to abandon one’s efforts, to admit defeat.

call the shots (v.) (also call one’s shot(s)) [sporting imagery]

[1930s+] to dictate a course of action, to say what should happen.

call the turn (v.) [gambling use: calling the next turn of the wheel in the game of faro; ? see Asbury Sucker’s Progress (1938) 15: ‘An extraordinary number of the terms, technical and otherwise, which were employed by Faro players in the palmy days of the game have passed into the language [...] and are commonly used by millions who never heard of Faro. Here are some of them: [...] Calling the turn — To guess correctly the order in which the last three cards in the box would appear’]

[late 19C+] (US) to predict accurately.