"Beckon Call" or "Beck and Call"?

Which phrase is correct?

Mignon Fogarty,
April 22, 2010

Dave J. asked, “What's the appropriate phrase--'beckon call' or 'beck and call'?”

The correct phrase is “beck and call.” If you are at someone's beck and call, you respond immediately whether he or she beckons or calls; it implies complete subservience.

It's an old phrase, originating in the late 1800s, during a time when “beck” was used to mean “beckon.”


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