Calling Earl: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
December 14, 2023

The phrase "calling Earl" usually means throwing up or vomiting. It's a colloquial expression that people use to describe this uncomfortable situation in a somewhat lighter or less direct manner. The phrase turns the act of vomiting into a metaphorical "call" to someone named Earl. While the origins of why 'Earl' was chosen are not clear, the expression is often used humorously or to soften the topic.

In short:

  • It is a casual way to talk about throwing up.
  • It's a way to discuss an unpleasant topic in a somewhat lighter manner.

What Does "Calling Earl" Mean?

"Calling Earl" is a slang term for vomiting. When someone says they need to "call Earl," it usually means they feel sick and need to throw up. This phrase is often used to discuss an awkward or uncomfortable topic more casually.

Let's dive into its primary meanings and how it's used:

  • It's a way to talk about vomiting without being too blunt or graphic.
  • The phrase is often used when someone has eaten something that doesn't agree with them or has had too much to drink.
  • Unlike medical terms for vomiting, "calling Earl" is informal and may not be understood in all settings or cultures.
  • People often use this term to keep the mood light while discussing something unpleasant.
  • Some similar expressions include "talking to Ralph," "worshipping the porcelain god," and "losing your lunch."

Where Does "Calling Earl" Come From?

The phrase "calling Earl" is slang for vomiting. It's used mainly in Australia and the United States. The term is considered "echoic," meaning it imitates the sound or action it describes. The phrase has been around for a while, with references dating back to 1967–8. It appears alongside other slang terms for vomiting, like "talk to Earl," "blow donuts," and "barf."

10 Examples of "Calling Earl" in Sentences

To help you better understand the phrase "calling Earl," here are some examples across different situations:

  • After riding the roller coaster, he had to run to the restroom to "call Earl."
  • She drank too much at the party and ended up "calling Earl" in the backyard.
  • On the clock, Jake felt so sick that he ended up calling Earl in the restroom.
  • After the boat ride, she felt seasick and went to the side of the ship to "call Earl."
  • I read about a roller coaster so intense that people were calling Earl right after getting off.
  • During the intense workout, he had to take a break to "call Earl" and catch his breath.
  • It's her first trimester, and morning sickness has her "calling Earl" almost every day.
  • Kidding aside, if you keep eating like that, you'll be calling Earl soon.
  • They went on a fishing trip, but the choppy water had them all calling Earl before noon.
  • The daily grind was so stressful for Lisa that she found herself calling Earl more often than she'd like to admit.

Examples of "Calling Earl" in Pop Culture

The phrase has made its way into pop culture, often used in scenes to add humor or show the reality of uncomfortable situations.

Let's look at some examples:

  •  NCIS (2003– ) Episode Chimera: "Calling Earl, shouting groceries, making street pizza, technicolor yawn..."
  • A quote from the article 15 Regional Words for Vomiting: "All imitative in origin. Urp is chiefly used in the Mississippi Valley, Georgia, and the Southwest; earl in Indiana; and burk in Georgia. Earl might also be used as a proper noun, as in, “Earl’s knocking at the door” or “I’m going to see Earl.” Burk also refers to “an expulsion of intestinal gas.”
  • A quote from Green's Dictionary of Slang article: "Shouting at your shoes. Or those foolishly over-indulgent pals Ruth, Hughie, Ralph (not pronounced Rafe), and Earl. And indeed their Buick. We can call Earl, cry for Ralph, shout for Ruth, and talk to Hughie. We can go to Europe with Ralph and Earl in the Buick."

Synonyms: Other Ways to Say "Calling Earl"

If you're looking for alternative ways to say "calling Earl," you have a few options.

Here are some of them:

  • Throwing up
  • Tossing your cookies
  • Upchucking
  • Barfing
  • Yacking
  • Losing your lunch
  • Regurgitating
  • Spewing
  • Heaving
  • Puking

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Calling Earl":

  • What does "calling Earl" mean?

"Calling Earl" is a slang term that refers to vomiting. The phrase can be used in both literal and figurative ways, usually to emphasize the unpleasantness of the act.

  • How can I use "calling Earl" in a sentence?

You can use "calling Earl" as a verb phrase to describe someone who is throwing up. For example: "After the roller coaster ride, he felt dizzy and ended up calling Earl." It's also used figuratively to express extreme disgust or revulsion, like: "The sight was so bad, I felt like calling Earl.

  • Where did the phrase "calling Earl" come from?

The phrase "calling Earl" is American slang, although its exact origins are unclear. It likely emerged as a humorous or euphemistic way to describe vomiting.

  • Is "calling Earl" considered rude or inappropriate?

The phrase is informal and could be considered inappropriate in formal or polite settings. It's usually best to use more clinical terms like "vomiting" in such contexts.

  • Can it be used medically?

"Calling Earl" is not a medical term, and it's not commonly used in healthcare settings. Medical professionals typically use more formal terms to describe the act.

  • Does "calling Earl" only refer to alcohol-induced vomiting?

No, "calling Earl" can refer to vomiting for any reason—food poisoning, motion sickness, or even emotional stress. It's not exclusive to alcohol-related situations.

  • Is "calling Earl" used globally?

The phrase is primarily American slang and may not be understood in other English-speaking countries or non-English speaking countries.

  • Can it be used in literature or creative writing?

While not common in high-brow literature, "calling Earl" might appear in dialogue or narration in works aiming for a colloquial or informal tone.

  • Is it often used humorously?

Yes, "calling Earl" is often used in a humorous context, particularly to lighten the mood when talking about something as unpleasant as vomiting.

  • Are there similar phrases or synonyms?

Yes, there are similar phrases like "tossing your cookies," "upchucking," or "losing your lunch" that convey the same meaning.

Final Thoughts About "Calling Earl"

Understanding the phrase "calling Earl" can give you insight into American slang, especially when dealing with unpleasant situations. While it's not a term you'd use in a formal or medical setting, it does come up in casual conversation, humor, and even pop culture.

Here's a quick recap:

  • "Calling Earl" is a way to talk about vomiting without actually using the term, making the topic a bit easier to discuss or adding humor to the situation.
  • The term can be used in both literal and figurative senses. While it's mainly used to describe throwing up, it can also express strong feelings of disgust.
  • Although it's primarily American slang, its meaning can often be understood from context if you're not familiar with the phrase.

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