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“Beck and Call” or “Beckon Call”—Which Is Right?

Updated on
September 23, 2022
Grammar
  • Beck and call is the correct way to spell this phrase.
  • To be at someone’s beck and call means you are ready to obey their orders or commands.
  • Beckon call is not the correct way to spell the phrase.

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Even though it’s not a phrase you’ll hear every day, it’s good to know whether beck and call is the correct way to say it, or if it should be beckon call.

Beck and call vs. beckon call

The correct way to write the phrase is beck and call. This phrase is a part of the idiom “to be at someone’s beck and call.” Beckon call is an example of an eggcorn—a slightly misheard (yet still kind of sensical) version of a common phrase.

What does beck and call mean?

To be at someone’s beck and call means to be ready to react to their commands without a delay. Sometimes the phrase carries a whiff of disapproval. People often use it when the commands seem overly entitled or unreasonable. Beck is a shortening of beckon, which means to signal or issue a command by a gesture. Call is a call, a word we use every day.

Grandma insists that we should be at her beck and call whenever she visits.

The restaurant’s staff must have thought I’m a restaurant critic—they were at my beck and call for three whole hours.

The chef likes his staff to be at his beck and call .

Beck and call examples

Celebrities have long championed their up-do—of course, it’s easier when you have a glam team at your beck and call .
Vogue

The sum total of my lifestyle for one month costs about $800, living luxuriously, with Uber at my beck and call , and as much tacos and tequila as I want.
New York Post

Amazon’s Alexa, the brain that powers the Amazon Echo, lets you take a step towards being able to place a computer at your verbal beck and call .
Stuff

Beck and call is not the only phrase in English that’s commonly spelled wrong because people hear it wrong. Foolproof is another one, as is Saint Paddy’s Day, to name just a couple.

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