1 [bek]
a gesture used to signal, summon, or direct someone.
Chiefly Scot. a bow or curtsy of greeting.
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
Archaic. beckon.
at someone's beck and call, ready to do someone's bidding; subject to someone's slightest wish: He has three servants at his beck and call.

1325–75; Middle English becken, short variant of becnen to beckon Unabridged


2 [bek]
noun North England.
a brook, especially a swiftly running stream with steep banks.

1250–1300; Middle English becc < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse bekkr; akin to Old English bece, Dutch beek, German Bach brook, MIr bual flowing water < Indo-European *bhog-lā


3 [bek]
verb (used with object) Metalworking.
to form (a billet or the like) into a tire or hoop by rolling or hammering on a mandrel or anvil.

v. use of beck (noun), shortening of beck-iron, variant of bick-iron


Dave, 1894–1993, U.S. labor leader: president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters 1952–57. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
beck1 (bɛk)
1.  a nod, wave, or other gesture or signal
2.  at someone's beck and call ready to obey someone's orders instantly; subject to someone's slightest whim
[C14: short for becnen to beckon]

beck2 (bɛk)
(in N England) a stream, esp a swiftly flowing one
[Old English becc, from Old Norse bekkr; related to Old English bece, Old Saxon beki, Old High German bah brook, Sanskrit bhanga wave]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., "mute signal," from bekken (v.), var. of becnan "to beckon" (see beckon). Transferred sense of "slightest indication of will" is from late 15c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see at someone's beck and call.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
The stars were dancing, wheeling and glancing, dipping with smirk and beck.
Set boundaries with your students so that you are not at their beck and call.
As time goes by, he finds enormous satisfaction in living as his own master and
  at the beck and call of only his work.
Beck, by contrast, is an alarmingly incoherent personality.
Idioms & Phrases
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