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1. verb To return someone's phone call. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "back." If that's Paul on the phone, tell him I'll call him back later. Hi Dr. Ryan, I'm just calling back about the message you left me this morning.
2. verb To instruct someone to return to a particular place or situation. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is typically used between "call" and "back." As I walked to my car, my mom called me back to retrieve a textbook I'd almost forgotten.
3. verb To recall a defective item. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "back." If that part does in fact cause engines to overheat, then we have no choice but to call it back.
4. noun A return phone call. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. I had been trying to reach Mary for weeks and finally got a callback from her last night.
5. noun An instruction to return to a particular place or situation. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. As I walked to my car, I got a callback from my mom, who was holding a textbook I'd almost forgotten.
6. noun A recall of a defective item. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. If that part does in fact cause engines to overheat, then we're going to have to do a massive callback.
7. noun A follow-up audition or interview, as when pursuing an acting role or applying for a job. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. After months of fruitless auditions, I finally got a callback! I'm so excited that I don't even care that it's for an ointment commercial! I just got a callback from the recruiter—she wants me to come in for a second interview!
8. noun A reference to a past scene or plot development, as in a TV show. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. The Gilmore Girls revival was full of callbacks to the original series.
9. noun In comedy, a joke that references an element used in a joke told earlier in the routine. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. The callback that I've been using at the end of my set is really killing.
call someone or something back
to call out that someone or something should come back. As she left, the clerk called her back. The clerk called back the customer.
call someone back
1. to call someone again on the telephone. Since she is not there, I will call her back in half an hour. Carl called back Mary after his meeting was over.
2. to return a telephone call to a person who had called earlier. I got his message; I will call him back tomorrow. I have to call back my friend now.
3. Go to call someone or something back.
1. to call [someone] again on the telephone at a later time. Call back later, please. I will call back when you are not so busy.
2. to return a telephone call received earlier. The note says I am to call back. What did you want? This is Bill Wilson calling back.
1. Ask someone to return; also, ask that something be returned, as in He passed the first audition and was waiting to be called back, or These screws are defective; the manufacturer has called them back. [Late 1500s]
2. call someone back. Telephone someone in return, as in May I call you back next week? [Early 1900s]
1. To contact, or attempt to contact, someone who has called previously, especially by telephone: When I got home from work, I called back my mother, who had left a message on my answering machine. I left a message asking the manager to call me back as soon as possible. I'll call back tonight when your parents are home.
2. To summon someone back to a previous situation or location: Just as I started walking away, the teacher called me back. The workers who were laid off are hoping that management will call them back as soon as the economy improves.
3. To recall something defective for repair: The company has called back all models of this car built in 2002. After discovering that the toy was unsafe for small children, the company was forced to call it back.