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1. To cancel a project, event, or activity. A noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "off." Stop all printing—the boss has called off this project! I was supposed to go out tonight, but Marisa is sick and called off our dinner. The coach called football practice off because of the rain.
2. To stop or restrain a person or animal that is behaving aggressively. A noun or pronoun can be used between "call" and "off." Can you please call off your mother so she stops interrogating me? I'll tell you anything you want to know, just call off your dogs!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
call someone (or an animal) off someone or somethingand call someone or an animal off
to request that someone or an animal stop bothering or pursuing someone or something; to call a halt to an attack by someone or an animal. Please call your dogs off my brother. Call off your spying on me, or else!
call something off
to cancel an event. It's too late to call the party off. The first guests have already arrived. Because of rain, they called off the baseball game.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Summon away, restrain, as in Please call off your dog. [Early 1600s]
2. Cancel some plan or undertaking, as in She decided to call off their engagement, or In case of rain the picnic will be called off. [Late 1800s]
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 cancel or postpone something: We called off the trip when two of people who were supposed to go became sick. The union called the strike off after the management gave in to their demands.
2. To order someone or something to stop attacking or aggressing: The police called off the dogs after the suspect surrendered. The commander called his troops off when the enemy retreated.
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.