beck 1[bek] Word Origin noun

  1. a gesture used to signal, summon, or direct someone.
  2. Chiefly Scot. a bow or curtsy of greeting.

verb (used with or without object)

  1. Archaic. beckon.


  1. at someone’s beck and call, ready to do someone’s bidding; subject to someone’s slightest wish: He has three servants at his beck and call.

Origin of beck 1 1325–75; Middle English becken, short variant of becnen to beckon British Dictionary definitions for at someone’s beck and call beck 1 noun

  1. a nod, wave, or other gesture or signal
  2. at someone’s beck and call ready to obey someone’s orders instantly; subject to someone’s slightest whim

Word Origin for beck C14: short for becnen to beckon beck 2 noun

  1. (in N England) a stream, esp a swiftly flowing one

Word Origin for beck Old English becc, from Old Norse bekkr; related to Old English bece, Old Saxon beki, Old High German bah brook, Sanskrit bhanga wave Word Origin and History for at someone’s beck and call beck v.

c.1300, shortening of beckon. (v.).

beck n.

late 14c., “mute signal,” from noun use of bekken (v.), variant of becnan “to beckon” (see beckon). Transferred sense of “slightest indication of will” is from late 15c.

Idioms and Phrases with at someone’s beck and call at someone’s beck and call

Required to comply with someone’s requests or commands, as in The boss expects the entire staff to be at his beck and call. The noun beck, now obsolete except in this idiom, meant “a gesture or signal of command, such as a nod or hand movement,” whereas call signifies “a vocal summons.” Also see dance attendance on.


see at someone’s beck and call.

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