This is from the transcript of a podcast.

KIM: Yeah, I think what I really had to do was leave that behind. I think the recipes in here are incredibly irreverent (laughter) to, like, traditional or, you know, more common modes of cooking these dishes - but ultimately, to arrive at a reality, which is that even modern Korean cooks in Korea are really experimenting and challenging the norm. And I think people used to call out that I had used vegetable oil - or I didn't - that I didn't use vegetable oil in my cooking. But the only reason is that my pantry has olive oil. That's the only reason. It's not that Korean Americans all over the world are using olive oil. It's actually just that mine - my pantry has that, and my mom's pantry has that, too. And she's not sitting there in her Georgia kitchen worrying about what all the Koreans are going to think of this food that she's feeding her family.

I wonder what 'call out' means in the above context.

If it means 'to criticize someone about something they have said or done and challenge them to explain it' as in a dictionary, I think the object of 'call out' should be 'someone' instead of that-clause.

Am I wrong?

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    I think the exact phrasing as cited is at least "clumsy". If I'd been writing it, I'd have used ...people used to call me out for using vegetable oil. And I can't for the life of me understand why the actual text says I think there - the whole point of being "called out" for doing something "suspect / non-standard" is that the subject knows they're being criticised (not that they think they might have been criticised). Apr 11, 2022 at 13:32
  • Thank you very much.
    – user153498
    Apr 11, 2022 at 13:55

1 Answer 1


In the Oxford English Dictionary it is sense 7, of the composite verb to call out.

7. transitive. Usually in passive. Originally and chiefly U.S. To identify or single out (something), esp. as a problem or cause of trouble.

One certainly hears it used in Britain, and I was previously unaware that it was "originally and chiefly US". One certainly hears it used in Britain in the sense of complain.


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