1

I still can't understand the meanings for 'call on'

  1. officially ask someone to do something
  2. ask a student a question
  3. decide to use something
  4. produce a quality
  5. ask someone to prove statement
  6. visit someone for short time

Could you give examples and logical conjectures of 'call on' for 3 and 4 cases?

Macmillan's dictionary gives an example for 4:

She called on all her reserves of courage to face the ordeal ahead of her.

and then gives Synonyms and related words

affect, shape, impact...

I can not understand why these words are synonyms, especially affect and impact?

For meaning 3 Macmillan's dictionary gives this example

We may need to call on professional help.

and gives Synonyms and related words - repurpose, use, bring in...

2 Answers 2

0

For meaning 4, I suggest that you consider it to be related to meaning 1. Consider the parallels between

She called on all her courage to face the ordeal ahead of her. (4)

and

The general called on all his soldiers to stand fast in the coming battle. (1)

The difference is that meaning 1 applies to external demands, while meaning 4 essentially personifies internal conditions.

I agree that the synonyms don't seem appropriate.

Without an example, I'm also inclined to suspect meaning 3, but that may simply mean that I haven't encountered the use.

4
  • For meaning 3 Macmillan's dictionary gives this example - We may need to call on professional help. and gives Synonyms and related words - repurpose, use, bring in... What is the difference between №3 and 'to use' or 'bring in'? It is not clear for me.
    – Vitaly
    Mar 29, 2019 at 17:26
  • First, I'd argue against incuding "decide". Saying "call on professional help" does have the meaning of "use", since in this case professional help will be used to resolve the problem being addressed, or the apporpriate professional will be brought into the team which is working on the issue. Mar 29, 2019 at 20:47
  • So I can not change for example - 'It is hard for her to decide on a divorce now'. to 'It is hard for her to call on a divorce now'?
    – Vitaly
    Mar 30, 2019 at 6:33
  • @Vitaly - Agreed. Mar 30, 2019 at 16:58
1

You have definitely chosen the correct definition of "call on", but I'm really surprised at the synonyms associated with that definition. They don't seem to fit at all and are certainly not interchangeable. That may be an error, as clicking on the link to see all the synonyms for that definition of "call on" takes you to a page that lists synonyms for "to have an effect*".

The Oxford dictionary has fewer definitions for "call on" and they seem broader. I would say that this fits:

Definition: Have recourse to.
Synonyms: have recourse to, avail oneself of, turn to, draw on, look to, make use of, use, utilize, bring into play

Calling on an inner strength essentially means summoning a resource that you have. You cannot call on something that is not there. So "have recourse to" certainly seems a better definition and synonym.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .