Beckon call

The phrase at [one’s] beckon call is an eggcorn derived from a mishearing of the at [one’s] beck and call, which means freely available or ready to comply. The mistaken phrase is sort of understandable because someone who is at your beck and call is ready to be beckoned. Still, attentive readers are liable to see beckon call as wrong.


For example, a more careful editor could have saved these writers a little embarrassment:

The cast is rounded out by Selznick’s secretary Miss Poppenghul (Kelly Reeves), who’s at the producer’s beckon call for the entire five days. [Aurora Sentinel]

At beckon call, there is a bull or bear waiting to make his or her case on TV. [NASDAQ]

And the following writers use the unquestionable beck and call:

We turn on a tap, and behold! —safe, clean drinking water is at our immediate beck and call. [Tonic (link now dead)]

And with the Czech Philharmonic at his beck and call, Pallett has no trouble expanding the scope of his melodies far beyond any of his previous works. [Slant Magazine]

17 thoughts on “Beckon call”

  1. In my way of thinking, it should be beckoned call, using beckoned as an adjective for call rather than beck and call or beckon call.

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  2. Beck is simply the short version of the work beckon! Beckon means to summon, to call over.

    When you say “beck and call” you are en essence saying “to call and call”
    The phrase “beck and call” is en extremely huge misnomer!

    You should simply say “beckon” however, if you use a phone call to beckon someone then the proper phrase would be “beckon call”

    • No, that’s not correct. Look up the dictionary definitions. Beckon is to signal (non-verbally) with a gesture. Call is to signal with voice. So, “beck and call” means you’re ready to respond to both verbal and non-verbal commands, indicating a high level of attention or focus on the other party. “Beckon call” wouldn’t make sense, unless you were specifically talking about a summons issued with both a hand gesture and verbal command, and even then, it’s an awkward phrase, unless you said beckon AND call, which is what the phrase beck and call is.

      • Yes it is correct! When you “beck and call” you are making a gestured call and a verbal call at the same time!

        Ergo, “to call and call”. Who does that?

        Unless youre the pompous one thats willing to be the spectacle in a crowded room, No one else is willing to flail their arms and yipe at the same time!

        • You’ve honestly never called and beckoned simultaneously? I highly doubt that. Hail a taxi? Order peanuts at a baseball game? Ask for the check at a restaurant? “Check please!” with a polite wave…
          Come on. Get real.

          Beckons and Calls are both signals. Different types of signals. Similar, but different enough for the phase to make perfect sense.

          • That’s exactly what i’m trying to express! You might “beck and call” at a ball game or for a taxi but you wouldn’t do that in a quiet place such as a classroom or in a nice restaurant. The writer is trying to express that beckon call is wrong and its not! When you put your hand up in class, that’s a beckon call.

        • “At someone’s beck and call” implies WAITING on them, looking for EITHER the physical gesture or the verbal call. Understand?

          It’s not that the person is ACTUALLY doing either, it means you are readily waiting to notice EITHER the gesture or a call should they do either in the future. It means you have your eyes and ears fixed on the target basically.


          That’s why it is CORRECT to say they are different modes of calling a person over. This is real easy to understand folks, geez.

        • “When you ‘beck and call’ you are making a gestured call and a verbal call at the same time!

          Ergo, ‘to call and call’. Who does that?”

          Well yeah, when you cut the operative words, it becomes repetitive.

          The proper way to “translate” it would be “to signal verbally & vocally” or “to call with gestures and words”.

          If you simply reduce both to just “call”, then you’re not arguing semantics, you’re being purposely disingenuous.

          • What’s “purposely disingenuous” is to try to take synonyms and declare them the proper “translation”

            Gestures and words are still two different types of calls and you would never do them at the same time!

          • I didn’t take synonyms; I took the proper definitions.

            “…you would never do them at the same time.”

            Yeah….that’s bull. Totally and completely wrong. Someone else even gave you plenty of examples.

  3. Neither is wrong, because phrases can be colloquial and idiomatic, so they need not be in grammatical agreement. One is simply advocated by traditional grammar usage. The best example is ‘spitting image’ vs. ‘spit and image.’ The latter is actually the original phrase, but due to usage the former became accepted. Languages evolve, and it’s idiocy to advocate archaic words, spellings, and phrases as being more correct than contemporary ones. The same argument occurs with the phrase ‘all intensive purposes.’ Although the phrase should be all intents and purposes, both phrases are understood to bear the same meaning and are commonly used, so from a logistical view neither is wrong, one is merely wrong from a traditional stance. Traditional grammarists need to go away, because if they had always had their way we would still he using terms like horseless carriage and aeroplane.


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