You are on a call, when suddenly another comes in. You want to tell the first caller that another caller is trying to reach you.

What do we call the second caller?

I know this service is called "call waiting", but I want to know if there is a word (or phrase) for describing the second caller?

  • 2
    I've never found a need for this kind of term; if I'm letting the first caller know that there's another call waiting, I'll just say "please hold; I have another call coming in", then I'll switch, tell the second caller "please hold; I'll be right with you; I'm on another call", and switch back. Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 14:03
  • Not sure what you mean by "call" in "What do we call the second caller?" Are you looking for a word to use when informing the first caller that you would like to put them on hold for a moment because you have another call coming in? And is this a mobile phone, not a business phone that sits on a counter or on a desk? And are you speaking to a friend or to a stranger/customer?
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 19:09
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo In "What do we call the second caller?", call means "what do we say" or "Is there a word for describing...". I am looking for a word which can describe the second caller, not only for informing the first caller, but also for describing this situation (to anyone else). I thought there might be no difference between using this word for a mobile phone and a business phone, or between using it for a friend or a stranger. If there is, I would be glad to know the difference.
    – helen
    Commented Sep 8, 2018 at 9:23

1 Answer 1


First, I'm going to agree with the comment made by Jeff Zeitlin; I, too, will usually tell the first caller:

I have another call coming in.

But, if you are looking for a word for the caller, one word you could use is party.

The word party, of course, has many different meanings. For example, there are birthday parties, rescue parties, and political parties. But there is another meaning for this word:

party (noun) A person using a telephone

The word party does not, by definition, mean "the second caller". However, you could use the word another as a determiner, and make this work:

Excuse me, there's another party trying to reach me.

I'm not saying that I'd recommend the word party over, say, caller, or even person:

I'm sorry, there's another person calling me; do you mind hanging on for a moment?

In fact, I think party almost sounds a little old-fashioned in the context of telecommunications; it reminds me of a bygone era when people used telephone operators instead of cell phones, when children shared the same phone number and land line as their parents.

Nevertheless, I thought this quaint suggestion might be useful and informative to our community of learners.

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