Main Beck and Call Takeaways:
- Beck and call is the correct way to write this phrase, not beckon call.
- The idiom “at your beck and call” dates back to at least the 1800s. The verb beckon dates back even earlier.
- At one point in history, beck and beckon meant the same thing (but not anymore).
- The confusion stems from the fact that beckon sounds like beck and in the phrase beck and call.
Avoid looking like a fool with this quick and easy guide. We’ll show you exactly how to use the verb beckon and the idiom at your beck and call in your writing. We’ll also give you alternatives and the best examples of how to use this phrase.
Is it Beck and Call or Beckon Call?
The idiom to be at someone’s beck and call means to act on someone’s command immediately or to be at someone’s disposal. Someone who is at another person’s beck and call is always on standby. They are ready to jump in at a moment’s notice to fulfill whatever request. For this reason, the phrase can have a negative connotation or refer to an unequal power dynamic. It often refers to servitude or to subservient behavior.
How do you use Beck and Call in a Sentence?
Here are the best examples of how to use Beck and Call in a Sentence:
Synonyms for Beck and Call
Since some of these alternatives are part of other idioms, they may require you to rework the sentence slightly:
- At the disposal of
All the synonyms for beck and call relate back to the idea that being at someone’s beck and call is like being a servant. You’re always available, ready and willing to complete any task.
Where Does Beck and Call Come From?
The correct idiom is to be at someone’s beck and call. It means to be completely subservient to someone else, or serve at someone’s whim. The phrase comes from the late 1800s. During this period, beck and beckon meant the same thing. As a result, contemporary speakers used beck in place of beckon, and the phrase stuck.
What Does Beck Mean in Beck and Call?
Originally, beck may have been used as a noun to refer to a gesture. For instance, a wave would have been an example of a beck. However, around the 1400s, the word evolved to include the action as well as the intent. What’s more, by the late 1800s, it was common to use the word beck in place of beckon. For this reason, in the phrase beck and call, beck is a synonym for beckon. As for beckon, it appears to be much older, with similar words appearing in Old High German, Old Saxon, and Old Norse. While beck and beckon used to mean the same thing, they don’t anymore.
What About Beckon?
Beckon is a verb that means to make a gesture, usually with the arm, head, or hand. Therefore, use this gesture to encourage someone to come closer or follow along.
In other forms, beckon can also refer to an inanimate object or environment that’s appealing or inviting.
Moreover, use beckon if you want to call over someone or describe how tempting or delightful something is. Other forms, like beckoned and beckoning, are also quite useful.
Is it Beckon Call or Beck and Call?
Beckon Question #1
The answer is TRUE. “Beckon” is a verb that means to make a gesture, usually with the arm, head, or hand.
Beck and Call Question #2
The answer is FALSE. “Beck and call” means to be at someone's disposal, while "beckon" means to call someone over.
Beck and Call Question #3
The answer is A. The sentence implies that Jane is ready to fulfill whatever request the committee makes.
Beckon Call Question #4
The answer is B. The sentence implies that the sirens encouraged the sailors to come closer with their music.
Beck and Call Question #5
The answer is D. “Beckon” is not a synonym for beck and call.