Make Your Editor Cry: Beckon call vs. Beck and call

Make Your Editor Cry:  Beckon call vs. Beck and call

The word “beckon” means to call over or to request. So, of course, this misuse seems to make sense.

However, the original phrasing was a bit more on-the-nose and when you understand the real meanings of the words, you realize that a “beckon call” is not a thing.

A “beck” is a signal, gesture, or nod that indicates that someone is required, and it is actually the origin of the word “beckon.” Therefore, not only is a “beckon call” redundant, it is also incorrect.

The correct usage is to refer to your necessity of responding to someone’s beck—meaning that person’s gesture—and/or their call.

The correct phrase is “beck and call.”

Example:

Incorrect:

I keep the pizza delivery service at my beckon call.

Correct:

The servants at the palace are at the beck and call of the king and the entire royal family.

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