News media use these kind of expressions of "call" a lot recently. For example the following sentences quoted from NBC News:

  1. One side of a deeply divided country is celebrating this weekend. A nationwide block party broke out from coast to coast yesterday in spontaneous celebrations, mostly in cities, moments after television networks called the election for Joe Biden.
  1. Of course, those races are not called, but Biden leads in both.

What does the word "call" mean here?

1 Answer 1


See Merriam Webster's definition of call:

to describe correctly in advance of or without knowledge of the event : PREDICT
He called the upward trend of the stock market in February.

"[T]elevision networks called the election for Joe Biden" means "the networks predicted the winner of the election would be Joe Biden."

  • Does the word project in sentence "... projecting presidential election winners on a state-by-state basis ..." mean the same thing?
    – Frank Mi
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 15:23
  • @FrankMi It means something similar. Per Lexico: "estimate or forecast (something) on the basis of present trends or data." By the way, welcome to ELL! It seems you haven't used the Stack Exchange network much except Stack Overflow. On most SE sties, particularly ELL, questions are expected to include details. You should tell us in your question where your quoted sentences come from and what dictionaries tell you. Please look up the words before you ask about them. Questions that can be easily answered with a dictionary are off-topic. This question is fine because it is not a common usage.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 19:32
  • Thanks for the information, Eddie. I've updated my question and I'll pay attention to it.
    – Frank Mi
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 20:11
  • Hi, Eddie. I'm a little confused of the meaning of "call" to be "prediction". After television networks "called" the election for Joe Biden, he made a victory speech, right? If it is just a "prediction" instead of a "decision" or something more assured, why Mr. Biden could make a victory speech according to that like it was an official announcement?
    – Frank Mi
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 22:21
  • The media has no authority to decide who wins an election. They merely report the facts as they see them. So the media can only predict and forecast, not decide who the winner is. That's why it is a projection. This also has to a lot to do with the technicalities of how the presidential election is administered in the United States. Technically speaking, the general election doesn't get to decide the outcome either; the electoral college does. I don't want to get into more details since it'd stray too far from your question.
    – Eddie Kal
    Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 22:34

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