a wake-up call

wake-up call

1. A phone call that one schedules to be placed to one's hotel room in order to be woken up at a certain time. I set an alarm and scheduled a wake-up call so there's no way I oversleep for the first conference session tomorrow.
2. An event that triggers a sense of urgency or the motivation to make a change. Harold's sudden chest pain was the wake-up call he needed to finally see his doctor. That terrible car accident was just the wake-up call I needed to quit my boring office job and start acting again.
See also: call

a wake-up call

COMMON A wake-up call is something which shocks people, making them understand how serious a problem is and causing them to take action in order to solve that problem. These extreme weather patterns should act as a wake-up call to our complacent leaders. Climate change is happening and we need to act now. The report is intended as a wake-up call for governments around the world to take action to improve healthcare resources for young people. Note: If you have a wake-up call, you arrange for someone to telephone you at a certain time in the morning so that you are sure to wake up at that time.
See also: call

a ˈwake-up call

an event that makes people realize that they must take action in a dangerous situation: The recent storms and floods have been a wake-up call for many people about the reality of climate change.
See also: call
References in periodicals archive ?
Usually, people have to wait until later in life to have a wake-up call and realize life's more precious than you think.
this past August was a wake-up call to organizations of all sizes that solid data protection processes must be in place, not only to survive these events, but also to maintain a competitive advantage.
The economic slowdown also services as a wake-up call to owners of designated Class B and C properties.
Many new issues posted only moderate gains or closed below their offering prices, sounding a wake-up call for option-seeking dot-com workers, who were forced to shed their rose-colored glasses and face the harsh, but undeniable, truth: No dot-com, no matter how promising, is certain to succeed.
It was a wake-up call for a once-complacent industry.
Experts have widely circulated their population estimates this year as a wake-up call for transportation planning.
The move/demotion to the offensive line was a wake-up call, and Hopkins responded.
This is a wake-up call for the voters of Los Angeles County.
After one too many close calls (a murder acquittal in 1996, a marijuana bust in 1998 and a wake-up call in 1997 after Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.
It was a wake-up call to employers who want to downsize and continue doing all these negative things.