wake-up call

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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

wake-up call

A portentous event, report, or situation that brings an issue to immediate attention. For example, The rise in unemployment has given a wake-up call to state governments, or The success of the online subscription is a wake-up call to publishers. This metaphoric term originated in the second half of the 1900s for a telephone call arranged in advance to awaken a sleeper, especially in a hotel. Its figurative use dates from about 1990.
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 ?
The report should serve as a wake-up call to both lenders and investors.
This unfortunate wake-up call has been placed before, by the Wall Street mad bomber of the 50s, student radicals in the 60s and the national zealots of the last two decades.
The rate at which voters were last night signing campaigning Labour MP Tom Watson's online petition should serve as a wake-up call for complacent Cameron.
WAKE-UP CALL Rooms (which can sleep a family of four at a squeeze) cost pounds 60 (15pp per night).
Experts have widely circulated their population estimates this year as a wake-up call for transportation planning.
To be hammered 3-1 at home on the opening day was a real wake-up call, but it still took us a while to recover.
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.
We're glad we got this wake-up call on a win and not on a loss,'' freshman guard Becky Bracelin said.
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.
The foundation sees the study results as a kind of wake-up call.
It was a wake-up call to employers who want to downsize and continue doing all these negative things.