CALL (from Anglo-Saxon ceallian, a common Teutonic word, cf. Dutch kallen, to talk or chatter), to speak in a loud voice, and particularly to attract some one’s attention by a loud utterance. Hence its use for a visit at a house, where the name of the occupier, to whom the visit was made, was called aloud, in early times, to indicate the presence of the visitor. It is thus transferred to a short stay at a place, but usually with the idea of a specific purpose, as in “port of call,” where ships stop in passing. Connected with the idea of summoning by name are such uses as “roll-call” or “call-over,” where names are called over and answered by those present; similar uses are the “call to the bar,” the summoning at an Inn of Court of those students qualified to practise as barristers, and the “call within the bar” to the appointment of king’s counsel. In the first case the “bar” is that which separates the benchers from the rest of the body of members of the Inn, in the other the place in a court of law within which only king’s counsel, and formerly serjeants-at-law, are allowed to plead. “Call” is also used with a particular reference to a divine summons, as of the calling of the apostles. It is thus used in nonconformist churches of the invitation to serve as minister a particular congregation or chapel. It is from this sense of a vocatio or summons that the word “calling” is used, not only of the divine vocation, but of a man’s ordinary profession, occupation or business. In card games “call” is used, in poker, of the demand that the hand of the highest bettor be exposed or seen, exercised by that player who equals his bet; in whist or bridge, of a certain method of play, the “call” for a suit or for trumps on the part of one partner, to which the other is expected to respond; and in many card games for the naming of a card, irregularly exposed, which is laid face up on the table, and may be thus “called” for, at any point the opponent may choose.
“Call” is also a term on the English and American stock exchanges for a contract by which, in consideration of a certain sum, an “option” is given by the person making or signing the agreement to another named therein or his order or to bearer, to “call” for a specified amount of stock at a certain day for a certain price. A “put,” which is the reverse of a “call,” is the option of selling (putting) stock at a certain day for a certain price. A combined option of either calling or putting is termed a “straddle,” and sometimes on the American stock exchange a “spread-eagle.” (See further Stock Exchange.) The word is also used, in connexion with joint-stock companies, to signify a demand for instalments due on shares, when the capital of the company has not been demanded or “called” up at once. (See Company.)