There is a song which has this phrase:

What time do you call this? 

repeated in it. Is this a phrase with special meaning?

Here is a link to song

3 Answers 3


It means: "You are very late!" When a 16 year old girl returns home at 02.00, her parents will say to her: "What time do you call this?!Why are you late?


This type of question is called a rhetorical question, which is asked to make a point rather than to elicit an answer.

If you were to say to a 16 year old girl "Why are you late?" the girl will come up with a long list of (in her opinion valid) reasons, and a family dispute will probably follow. I witnessed many such disputes between my father and my younger sister.

So, what you do instead is to ask a question that can't reasonably be answered:

"What time do you call this?"

An argument may still ensue, but the parent has (or at least think they have) the upper hand after asking this kind of question.


Thus, the rhetorical question is not a father scolding a daughter, but a lover to an intended, early or even anonymously. The singer might even be literal, asking where the intended wants the relationship to go. Time is then “stages” of romantic love: the Meeting, the sparks, the proposition, the first kiss and other things, the security of settling in to safe companionship, etc. The singer is obviously ready for and desirous of all those stages, but he also seems willing to let the intended define the “time” and, hence, the nature of the relationship and the alacrity with which it progresses. He also seems to be dispensing with “games,” saying that he is “all in” if the intended wants while, at the same time, inviting the intended to define the stages of their relationship.

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