at someone's beck and call

Idioms & Phrases

at someone's beck and call

Required to comply with someone's requests or commands, as in The boss expects the entire staff to be at his beck and call. The noun beck, now obsolete except in this idiom, meant "a gesture or signal of command, such as a nod or hand movement," whereas call signifies "a vocal summons." Also see dance attendance on.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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