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[suhm-uh n] /ˈsʌm ən/
verb (used with object)
to call upon to do something specified.
to call for the presence of, as by command, message, or signal; call.
to call or notify to appear at a specified place, especially before a court:
to summon a defendant.
to authorize or order a gathering of; call together by authority, as for deliberation or action:
to summon parliament.
to call into action; rouse; call forth (often. followed by up):
to summon all one's courage.
Origin of summon
1175-1225; < Medieval Latin summonēre to summon, Latin: to remind unofficially, suggest, equivalent to sum- sum- + monēre to remind, warn; replacing Middle English somonen < Old French semondre, somondre < Vulgar Latin *summonere, Latin summonēre, as above
Related forms
summonable, adjective
summoner, noun
resummon, verb (used with object)
unsummonable, adjective
unsummoned, adjective
1-3. See call. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for summon up
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Dan looked appealingly round as though seeking contradiction, but could not summon up enough courage to speak.

    North, South and Over the Sea M.E. Francis (Mrs. Francis Blundell)
  • Ah, my dear child, be reasonable, be strong; summon up all your courage.

    Samuel Brohl & Company Victor Cherbuliez
  • Daily, right around us, there are occasions that summon up all the energies of manhood as with a trumpet-peal.

    Humanity in the City E. H. Chapin
  • The Colonel could summon up no answering smile to his boy's kind words.

    The Hero William Somerset Maugham
  • On the whole, drowning was the cheapest, and would suit him best, if he could summon up spirits for it.

    Audrey Craven May Sinclair
  • It took me some time, however, to summon up resolution enough.

    The Dean's Watch Erckmann-Chatrian
  • Amory watched it dully, trying to summon up force to get up and go home.

    Gray youth Oliver Onions
  • She felt this some time before she could summon up resolution to go.

    Mary Barton Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
British Dictionary definitions for summon up


verb (transitive)
to order to come; send for, esp to attend court, by issuing a summons
to order or instruct (to do something) or call (to something): the bell summoned them to their work
to call upon to meet or convene
(often foll by up) to muster or gather (one's strength, courage, etc)
Derived Forms
summonable, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Latin summonēre to give a discreet reminder, from monēre to advise
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for summon up



c.1200, from Anglo-French, Old French sumundre "summon," from Vulgar Latin *summundre "to call, cite," from Latin summonere "hint to," from sub "under" + monere "warn, advise" (see monitor (n.)). Summons "authoritative call to be at a certain place for a certain purpose" is late 13c., from Old French sumunse, noun use of fem. past participle of somondre. Summoner "petty officer who cites persons to appear in court" is from early 14c.; contracted form sumner is from mid-14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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