What Does the Expression “Beck and Call” Mean and Where Did the Phrase Come From?

To be at someone’s “beck and call” means to be standing by and prepared to immediately respond to that person’s needs.

The expression comes from the rules of servitude, when a beck was a silent signal, such as a nod of the head or a hand gesture, used to summon a servant.

If this subtlety didn’t work, then the master or mistress would resort to a call.

This meant they had used a beck and a call to get the domestic’s attention.