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1. To call (someone or some place) on the telephone again, usually after failing to reach the desired person the first time. A noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "back." I didn't get an answer, so I'll trying calling back tomorrow. I have to call the passport office back in about an hour because everyone was out to lunch.
2. To return someone's or some organization's telephone call. A noun or pronoun is be used between "call" and "back." I saw I missed a call from my mother, so I need to call her back once we're finished eating. We are unable to answer the telephone right now, so please leave a message with your name and number, and we will call you back as soon as possible.
3. 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.
4. 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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.