Call Away: Definition Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
June 25, 2023

The idiom "call away" means to ask someone to stop what they are doing and go somewhere else. It's often used when someone is required to leave a task or event abruptly due to an unexpected or urgent situation.

In short:

"Call away" suggests an abrupt interruption or diversion from an ongoing task or activity due to an unforeseen situation or request.

What Does "Call Away" Mean?

"Call away" is a common idiom that conveys the act of suddenly being required to leave or shift attention from one task to a different one. It often implies an unexpected interruption or departure due to an urgent or unforeseen circumstance.

Let's explore its core meanings and usage:

  • "Call away" often signifies a sudden disruption from a task or event.
  • It can be used in different contexts, both personal and professional.
  • It's generally used to describe situations where one's presence or attention is urgently required elsewhere.

Where Does "Call Away" Come From?

The phrase "call away" originates from the simple act of calling someone, in the sense of summoning them and directing them away from their current location or task. The phrase has then evolved to encompass a broader sense of being drawn away from one activity due to the need to attend to another.

Historical Example

"The Dean felt it when he said we must be reconciled; but he had hardly spoken when our attention was quickly called away from such reflections."

- Cast Away Inqthe Cold an Old Man's Story of a Yung Man's Adventures as Related by Captain John Hardy, Mariner, 1869

10 Examples of "Call Away" in Sentences

Here are some examples of the idiom in use:

  • I need to call you away from your desk to lodge a complaint about the network issue.
  • I apologize for the abrupt ending of our call earlier; I was called away on a family matter.
  • The lifeguard was called away to assist a swimmer in distress.
  • That sucks, but I was called away to handle an emergency, so I missed the football game.
  • The doctor was called away from dinner to attend to a patient.
  • While I was reading, I got called away to help with the chores.
  • Although I was at home, I got called away to attend to a patient in the hospital.
  • Effective immediately, the boss called him away from his current project to lead the new one.
  • He was called away from the concert when his wife went into labor.
  • That being said, they had to call her away due to a sudden crisis at work.

Examples of "Call Away" in Pop Culture

The phrase "call away" is occasionally used in pop culture, often to depict a character being abruptly taken away from a situation due to an urgent matter.

Let's explore some instances:

  • "One Call Away" is a song by Charlie Puth from the album Nine Track Mind.
  • "Ella was quite happy to be called away from her books to come and pet a kitten" is a quote from the 2017 book "A Kitten Called Holly."
  • "Could some urgent matter have called him away?" is a quote from the romance novella "I Want to Run Away" by Deepa Iyyer.

Other/Different Ways to Say "Call Away"

There are various other expressions that convey a similar meaning to "call away."

Here are some of them:

  • Summoned away
  • Pulled away
  • Taken away
  • Drawn away
  • Requested elsewhere

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Call Away":

  • What does "call away" mean?

"Call away" refers to the act of being asked to leave or divert attention from an ongoing activity due to an unexpected or urgent situation.

  • How can I use "call away" in a sentence?

You can use "call away" to indicate an abrupt departure or shift in attention from a task. For example, "She was called away from the meeting to take an urgent phone call."

  • Where does the idiom "call away" come from?

"Call away" originated from the act of summoning someone, asking them to leave their current task or location and move somewhere else or attend to a different task.

  • Can "call away" be used in formal contexts?

Yes, "call away" can be used in both formal and informal contexts. It is often used in professional situations to explain an abrupt departure or shift in attention.

  • Does "call away" imply an urgent situation?

While it does not always signify an emergency, "call away" often implies a situation that requires immediate attention or action.

  • Does "call away" indicate a temporary or permanent departure?

"Call away" typically suggests a temporary departure, although the length of time can vary based on the situation.

  • What's the difference between "call off" and "call away"?

"Call off" generally means to cancel an event or activity, while "call away" means to divert attention from a current task to attend to another.

  • Does "call away" imply physical movement?

While "call away" often involves physical movement from one location to another, it can also mean shifting attention or focus from one task to another.

  • Is "call away" a common phrase?

Yes, "call away" is a commonly used idiom in English, often employed to explain why someone had to leave a situation or task suddenly.

  • Can "call away" be used in a positive context?

Yes, while "call away" often signifies an interruption, it can also be used positively. For example, one might be "called away" to receive a surprise or a piece of good news.

Final Thoughts About "Call Away"

The phrase "call away" encapsulates the unpredictability of life, where sudden changes or interruptions often require immediate attention. Whether it's a personal emergency or a professional obligation, being called away is common in human experiences.

Here's a quick recap:

  • "Call away" signifies an abrupt departure or shift in focus due to an unexpected event or situation.
  • The phrase can be used in both personal and professional contexts.
  • While often signifying an interruption, it can also be used positively, suggesting an unexpected surprise or good news.

Whether it's a small task or a significant life event, being "called away" reminds us of the importance of being adaptable and responsive to life's unexpected turns.

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