call (one) to attention

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call (one) to attention

To instruct military personnel to stand at attention (which, in most cases, means looking forward and standing erect with one's arms at one's sides). The troops abruptly stopped marching when the drill sergeant called them to attention.
See also: attention, call
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

call someone to attention

to demand that someone assume the formal military stance of attention. The officer called the platoon to attention. The sergeant called us to attention.
See also: attention, call
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
It is like one of those wonderful moments in the second symphony of Sibelius, when the strings which have been muttering on, gravely establishing a deep rhythmic structure are called to attention by a piercing climax of trumpets.