1. to beg.
|Life n.p.: I called a whole street.|
|Dundee Courier (Scot.) 8 Sept. 7/3: There were several ‘travellers’ in the lodging house, and all [...] assured me that the town was not ‘gammy,’ and that I could ‘call’ it witchout fear from one end to the other.|
|Dundee Courier 18 Aug. 7/4: The travellers had departed, some to ‘call’ in the town, and others on their usual day’s tramp from town to town.|
|Beggars 103: Wandering beggars say ‘call.’ For instance, ‘it is a good road to call,’ or ‘there is plenty of calling’.|
|Adventures of Johnny Walker 190: The word ‘mouch’ is not often heard outside towns, for wandering beggars say ‘call.’.|
|Half a Million Tramps 231: Another tramp was ‘calling’ a house.|
2. to blame.
|L.A. Herald 10 Dec. 10/4: ‘Ain’t you the gent who called me for keepin’ all the pictures in the theater trunk, an’ when I put ’em out you snap at me’.‘Our Theatrical Boarding House’ in|
|DSUE (8th edn) 175/1: late C.19–20.|
3. (US) to challenge [+ poker imagery].
|Billy Baxter’s Letters 49: If some guy cuts in on your steady [...] you are going to call her fine and plenty, aren’t you? And unless she promises to bump the other fellow, you are going to leave her in a rage.|
|Cowboy 80: Poker gave also, among other terms, [...] ‘call’.|
|(con. 1868) Triggernometry (1957) 37: He had the name of a dangerous man to cross [...] Nobody ‘called’ him.|
|Mildred Pierce (1985) 329: You’re not calling me. I’m calling you. You go to her this afternoon, and that’s the last you’ve seen of this house.|
|Rock 104: This Slick passes at Ella. I got to call him on it and I do.|
|Paper Tiger 3: The coal passer looked so formidable that many a tough guy took bumps and insults without calling him. However, he was finally called, and the fight that resulted was the most remarkable in the unofficial history of the ring.|
|Underground Dict. (1972).|
|Rope Burns 134: Con was glad the ref hadn’t called him on the gun, because he’d been selling wolf tickets on the nine-millimeter from the git.|
|(con. 1964–8) Cold Six Thousand 57: He said ‘Arden.’ Ward schizzed. He called Ward on Ruby. Ward played it oblique.|
4. (Aus.) to vomit [abbr. of the various phrs. below].
|Traveller’s Tool 59: If the stain on closer examination appears to have been adulterated with other substances and fluids, then it’s possible you may have ‘called’ during the night.|
Meaning to vomit
see buick v.
|Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 118: Any night he came home blind and couldn’t make the big white telephone he’d call charles in the flamin’ wardrobe.|
|Campus Sl. Nov. 2: call dinosaurs – vomit because of excessive alcohol: He’s over in the bushes calling some dinosaurs [...] Also call seals.|
see under Earl n.1
|Great Aus. Lover Stories 63: ‘Well, that bloke in there is calling for Herb.’ [...] ‘Calling for Herb?’ ‘Well you’ve heard a bloke having a good chunder, saying ‘Herb. ... Heeerb ... Heeerb!’.in|
|DSUE (8th edn) 175/2: 1960s.|
see under Hughie n.
see under Ralph n.
|Campus Sl. Apr.|
|Sl. and Sociability 70: Call the dogs means ‘to vomit’.|
to scold, to tell off.
|Mthly Rev. June 209: Let not, then, that clergyman complain who is called over the coals for wearing coloured stockings and dirty boots.|
|Peveril of the Peak (1827) 118: Partly out of fear lest I be called over the coals for last night's matter;.|
|Mirror of Parlt. July 17 3998/1: It is most unjust that the Noble Lord should be called over the coals in this manner.|
|Carlisle Jrnl 22 Feb. 2/8: He has again been called over the coals.|
|Era (London) 8 Sept. 3/2: Some two or three Licensed Victuallers who were ‘called over the coals’ on the last occasion, have continued to permit Betting Lists in their houses.|
|(con. 1840s–50s) London Labour and London Poor III 345/1: If I’m seen to gallop, and anybody tells our people, I’m called over the coals.|
|Dundee Courier 14 Nov. 2/2: Mr James Grant [...] was called over the coals [...] by Mr Disraeli’s solicitors.|
|Edinburgh Eve. News 25 Feb. 2/7: Mr Gladstone had felt it his serious duty to subject his indiscreet lieutenant to the unpleasant process known as being ‘called over the coals’.|
|Behind A Bus 140: I got called over the coals for that.|
|Spoilers 235: I shall have to call you over the coals for your share in this little business.|
|Marvel 3 Mar. 3: We haven’t been called over the coals yet.|
|Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 31 May 5/1: [headline] Mr F.B. Varley, M.P., Called Over the Coals.|
|Yorks. Eve. Post 29 May 8/3: [cartoon caption] Being Called Over the Coals.|
|Legionnaire’s Journey 47: I raked myself over the coals for getting my friends into this mess .|
(US black) to insult through name-calling.
|🎵 Women talk about me, they lies on me, calls me out of my name; / They talk about me, they lies on, calls me out of my name.‘Kitchen Mechanic Blues’|
|🌐 Johnny Straight had called him out of his name; had asked for a settlement.‘Powdersmoke Showdown’ in Real Western Nov.|
|Reinhart in Love (1963) 131: Ah dint come here to be called out of my name.|
|Juba to Jive 78: Call [one] out of [one’s] name v. (1900s–1940s) most popular in the thirties, this expression refers to the business of insult through name-calling.|
(US) to call someone’s bluff.
|Penthouse Mar. 159: Pimps seem awful tough [...] until we call their card [HDAS].|
(US) to call someone’s bluff, to challenge.
|🌐 When he acts like this I feel it’s a no win situation, but should I be calling his game more when he’s acting inappropriately?‘One step forward, three back...’ posting 28 Nov. on ‘Training Horses’ at Yahoo! Groups|
(US) to issue a challenge, to call someone’s bluff.
|S.F. Call 25 Mar. 1/1: Finally, after floating through a mist of metaphors, his good nature gets the better of him; and he concludes to ‘call our hand’ [DA].|
|New North-West (Deer Lodge, MT) 12 Nov. 3/4: R.B. Campbell [...] is swinging the hammer of Vulcan. See his card, and call his hand on blacksmithing.|
|Dly Morn. Astorian (OR) 31 Jan. 3/3: Villard threatened a disclosure [...] and rather than ‘call his hand’ he was given control of the corporation.|
|Red Rock 493: Called your hand, rather, didn’t he? [DA].|
|N-Y Tribune 26 Sept. 31/2: Put it to him straight. Call his hand.|
|Wash. Times (DC) 26 Mar. 24/3: If all the generation-old cohort should call his hand he would never stem the tide.|
|Daily Ardmoreite 4 Apr. 1/1: Some time, and very soon, something to call the Russian hand will have to be done [DA].|
SE in slang uses
Pertaining to sex
a male prostitute who can be hired on the phone.
|Delinquency, Crime, and Social Process (1969) 987: The call-boy who does not solicit in public.in Cressey & Ward|
|Playland 36: Professional call-boys at a hundred bucks a throw aren’t my bag.|
|Maledicta VI:1+2 (Summer/Winter) 139: [A] gay prostitute (young volunteer, call-boy, cottage or tea-room cruiser or troller, club and pub pro).|
|Int’l Jrnl Lexicog. 23:1 58: [T]he paper is concerned not with language about male prostitution but with language used by male prostitutes. In this regard there is an absence of terms like he-whore, callboy and hustler.‘Trolling the Beat to Working the Soob’ in|
(US) a brothel.
|Inter Ocean (Chicago) 27 Jan. 10/4: "Do you know about any disorderly houses [...] in your district’ [...] ‘There was a “call flat” at 3517 Indiana avenue, but we drove that out’.|
|Day Book (Chicago) 17 Mar. 32/2: Mrs Yorke was arrested and fined for conducting a ‘call flat’ in a fashionable apartment building at 447 Fullerton Parkway.|
|Annual Report q. in Mackey Pursuing Johns (2005) 49: Most of these call flat madames [...] had long lists of girls on call.|
|Haunch Paunch and Jowl 254: Now she’s old she keeps a nice, respectable call-flat.|
|Salem News (OH) 20 June 3/2: J.B. picked Margaret up in a — well, a call-flat on Fourteenth st.|
|Decade 317: The John Laws are knocking over cathouses, clip-joints, [...] call apartments.|
|Chicago Sun. Trib. Grafic Mag. 23 Apr. 16/1: Next time the man phones [...] he is asked for his code number. When this is checked he is directed to a call flat, wither that of the girl he first met or another if he prefers.|
|(ref. to 1920s)Love for Sale lxxxvii: The most common institution of prostitution in the 1920s was the ‘call flat,’ a variation on the old brothel of the nineteenth century. The name derived from madams' reliance on telephones to organize their business.|
see separate entry.
see separate entry.
(US) a brothel.
|I Can Get It For You Wholesale 129: This charge account you go with [to] that [...] call joint.|
|Call House Madam 109: Run it as a call joint, but keep the standard up. High prices. A minimum twenty-five dollar fee. Something about that. Keep the riffraff out.|
|5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.|
(W.I.) a fish too small for human consumption.
|cited in Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).|
see separate entry.
1. of a street-seller, to move on.
|Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 16: Call-a-Go in street ‘patter,’ is to remove to another spot, or address the public in another vein.|
|(con. 1840s–50s) London Labour and London Poor I 236/1: ‘When a thing’s humped [...] you can only “call a go.”’ To ‘call a go’ signifies to remove to another spot, or adopt some other patter, or, in short, resort to some change.|
|Aus. Sl. Dict. 14: Call-ago, to stop trying to sell in one place and start in another.|
2. to give up.
|Sl. Dict. 144: Call-a-Go [...] to give in, yield, at any game or business. Probably from the ‘GO’ call in cribbage.|
catch-phrase in which the first missing word or phrase, a command, a is linked to the joc. missing nickname that it inspires.
|Man About Harlem 18 Apr. [synd. col.] Here are a few of the new phrases [...] ‘Cut ma legs off and call me shorty’ . . . . and ‘Knock me a pair of stilts and call me lanks’.|
|Twitter 15 Nov. 🌐 Well cut off my legs and call me shorty - who could have predicted this?|
see under spade n.
see separate entry.
(W.I.) to address an elder or senior person without using Mr, Mrs or Miss.
|Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.|
(US) to snore.
|Really the Blues 219: I know I’m gonna call some hogs soon as I hit my roost.|
|(con. 1940s) JiveOn.com 🌐 Calling hogs: v Creating harsh, snorting noises during sleep; To snore.‘The Jive Bible’ at|
see under marker n.2
(US) to challenge, to call someone’s bluff.
|Buffalo Bill from Boyhood 98: ‘We’ll go up and call in their chips, Billy,’ was the universal decision [HDAS].|
to stop, to go no further, to express satisfaction with progress or acceptance that one cannot improve a position.
|Exploits and Adventures (1934) 168: Poor Thimblerig was obliged to break off conjuring for want of customers, and call it half a day.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Feb. 12/2: Young Wiggins: ‘See here, pop, I be too little to lick you, and you be too big to lick me. Let’s call it a day.’.|
|Wolfville 140: We takes a drink on the house, quits, an’ calls it a day.|
|Smile A Minute 49: I’m positive that all the French I’ll ever learn will never show on me nowheres, and I’m ready to call it a day right now.|
|Nightmare Town (2001) 108: Midnight came, and no John Boyd, and I called it a day, and went home.‘Zigzags of Treachery’ in|
|Flynn of the Inland 85: He always reads the paper before calling it ‘a day’.|
|Sudden Takes the Trail 81: If we could scare up a good excuse to clear out that gang at Dirty Dick’s, I’d call it a day an’ bounce the pair o’ you.|
|Crazy Kill 118: It’s four o’clock [...] Nothing for it now but to call it a day.|
|Saved Scene vi: fred: Call it a day. len: In a minute.|
|Caldo Largo (1980) 206: We had two bottles of pretty good champagne. I was ready to call it a night.|
|Picture Palace 30: I’m going to wind it up. Call it a day.|
|Tip on a Dead Crab 41: Get him cooled out now and we’ll call it a day.|
|Muscle for the Wing 75: They dumped the body at the hospital and called it a night.|
|Indep. 10 Aug. 8: The Oasis guitarist [...] announced yesterday he had decided to ‘call it a day’ and leave the band.|
|Hooky Gear 265: No more crazy ideas J . . . thats it . . . call it a day for the love of money.|
(W.I.) to agree that a matter is concluded, to bring to an end, e.g. a day’s work.
|Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.|
(US black) to die.
|‘Jiver’s Bible’ in Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.|
|AS XXXII:4 279: call off all bets. To die.‘Vernacular of the Jazz World’ in|
see call the shots
1. (US) to reprimand, to scold.
|Proud Highway (1997) 378: I will [...] be called on the carpet and lectured like a criminal for issuing bogus cheques.letter 28 April in|
|On Course 256: Take whatever measures seem appropriate to you: locking the door at the start of class, [...] calling tardy students on the carpet as they walk in the door,.|
2. (US prison) to challenge another speaker to justify his remarks, whether hostile, gossiping or whatever.
|Prison Sl. 92: Call Him on the Carpet Challenge someone to be accountable for his remarks or actions.|
1. to challenge to a fight.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Jan. 6/2: The marriage was a civil one, and a journalist of religious proclivities having hinted at their living in a state of concubinage, he was promptly ‘called out’ by M. Hughes and sent to – let us hope – a happier sphere.|
|‘Telling Mrs Baker’ in Roderick (1972) 417: Need went to the public-house where the barmaid was and called the landlord out.|
|Maison De Shine 52: Why don’t you be game? I’d like to see some feller call me, an’ me not get back to him!|
|Luton Times 24 Apr. 6/7: She told the defendant to leave the shop [...] he replied that he could ‘callee’ (fight), and would not leave for fifty d— policemen.|
|On the Yard (2002) 181: ‘Hey, Gasolino,’ someone said in the crowd, ‘you’re called out, man.’.|
|(con. 1971) Times Square 58: They’ve got to call each other out before they play.|
|At End of Day (2001) 162: Fights over women and fights over money and somebody called someone out from a barroom.|
|🌐 Sometimes the guys will record a video but wait to release it until a rival gang member—preferably one they’ve called out—is shot, so that it seems like CBE is taking credit.‘Dispatches from the Rap Wars’ in chicagomag.com|
2. (US Und.) to use a stolen cheque.
|Chicago May (1929) 260: Call Out — to use a stolen check to get baggage, etc.|
3. (US campus) to identify negatively, to criticise.
|Ball Four 292: [Coach] Eddie O’Brien continues working at being one of the boys. He didn’t even call Marty Pattin for reading a magazine in the bullpen.|
|Campus Sl. Apr. 2: call out – point out someone else’s fault.|
|Campus Sl. Apr. 2: call someone out – embarrass: When the teacher corrected the student’s pronunciation, the student complained that the teacher had called her out.|
|(con. 1994) Brotherhood of Corruption 183: ‘Sorry, Bill, no offense meant.’ ‘No offense taken,’ he replied. ‘You called them out for what they are’.|
|Pineapple Street 256: He had somehow managed to play both sides, never calling out his sisters, never truly promising to pick Sasha and put his wife first.|
see call full-mouth
(US) to call ‘heads or tails’ when a coin is tossed.
|Kidsports.org 🌐 ‘Tiebreaker Plan’: At the coin toss, the visiting team captain shall be given the privilege of calling the coin while it is in the air.|
(Aus./N.Z.) to abandon one’s efforts, to admit defeat.
|DSUE (1984) 175/1: since ca. 1912.|
|B.J. Cameron Collection (TS July) n.p.: call the game in (v) To cry quits, admit defeat [DNZE].|
|I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 231/2: call the game in – give up.|
|Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 42: call the game in Quit, eg, Time to call the game in, fellas, the fish ain’t biting.’ ANZ c1912.|
see under knock n.1
to dictate a course of action, to say what should happen.
|Thieves Like Us (1999) 49: ‘Call your shot, Bowie,’ Chicamaw said.|
|Really the Blues 96: You call your shots all the way in viperland.|
|USA Confidential 90: Jimmy [...] is close to the Governor and calls the shots.|
|Hell’s Angels (1967) 51: Others had quit and many of his best specimens had gone north to Oakland [...] where Sonny Barger called the shots.|
|Serial 55: Good old Sam had really called the shots.|
|(con. 1930s) Emerald Square 326: I started another row over his presumption that he was calling the shots.|
|Indep. Rev. 10 Nov. 6: All are more or less in thrall to the ‘wise guys’, the syndicate wheels who call the shots.|
|Guardian G2 11 May 9: It is the women who calls the shots in her line of work.|
|Artefacts of the Dead [ebook] Leave her to me [...] I’m the one calling the shots.|
(US) to predict accurately.
|Lantern (N.O.) 9 Jul. 5: Calling the turn for McEvery means a big box-stuffing.|
|World of Graft 18: They are professional grafters, every one of them, and I can call the turn on nearly fifty myself.|
|Voice of the City (1915) 191: You’ve called the turn.‘The Clarion Call’ in|
|Old Man Curry 69: Your friend Solomon called the turn on the get-rich-quick stuff.‘By a Hair’ in|
|Trails Plowed Under 6: ‘Neighbor, you’re a long way from your range.’ ‘You call the turn,’ says I, ‘but how did you read my iron?’ ‘I didn’t see a burn on you,’ says he, ‘an’ from looks, you’ll go as a slick-ear.’.|
|Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 46: Call the Turn. – To identify a criminal or solve a problem.|
|Runyon à la Carte 138: I judge Greebins calls the turn in figuring her to come back to him when she discovers the true situation about the money.|
|Little Men, Big World 12: The boys in the background call the turn and pull the strings.|