Definition of recall in English:



  • 1Bring (a fact, event, or situation) back into one's mind; remember.

    ‘I can still vaguely recall being taken to the hospital’
    [with clause] ‘he recalled how he felt at the time’
    • ‘But then my heart sinks as I recall the events of last night.’
    • ‘All too convincing, in fact, when one recalls his death last year of a heroin overdose.’
    • ‘A tint of sorrow creeps into my mind as I recall the ‘good old times’ that are gone, never to return.’
    • ‘In this conceptualization, it would seem unlikely that a pre-verbal infant would have the capacity to remember and recall specific events.’
    • ‘Memories plague my mind as I recall certain things.’
    • ‘The date is Friday 2nd April and all who attended last year's inaugural event will recall the outstanding success of the night.’
    • ‘In fact, I cannot recall the last occasion when I sat anywhere else in the venue.’
    • ‘But that didn't worry Allardyce, who recalled situations early in the season when similar tactics brought similar results.’
    • ‘Some of my memories have faded but I will try to recall events that stand out in my mind.’
    • ‘Remember that some patients will recall events that occurred when they were under general anesthesia.’
    • ‘As I recall the experience, this is what comes to mind -’
    • ‘She sat down and tried to remember, downcast at her failure to recall the events of the vivid dream.’
    • ‘Children between the ages of 5 and 7 become increasingly able to recall event details.’
    • ‘We started recalling situations, which at the time had seemed intolerable but now seemed simply worth a laugh.’
    • ‘From previous sessions of the inquiry, Foy's inability to recall much detail of events under examination has been well established.’
    • ‘I thought Labour opposed it at the time; as I recall the situation, it opposed it pretty strongly.’
    • ‘There is a crossover between recalling events that actually happened and your interpretation or impression of those events.’
    • ‘They started talking, each one recalling the events in detail and consoling themselves.’
    • ‘Once I could remember everything and recall each event, I began to write.’
    • ‘Images of the unnamed creatures pulsed vividly in her mind, recalling events she did not wish to remember.’
    remember, recollect, call to mind, think of
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    1. 1.1Cause one to remember or think of.
      ‘the film's analysis of contemporary concerns recalls The Big Chill’
      • ‘Traditional memorials recall moments from the past.’
      • ‘These children stare wildly, their oversized eyes gazing upward, eternally unblinking in an attitude that recalls contemporary Symbolism.’
      • ‘Smaller pebbles outline larger ones, and the light on dark scheme recalls contemporary red-figure vase painting (though the stimulus of lost textiles should not be discounted).’
      • ‘The pastels recall early works by Elizabeth Murray, Korman's contemporary.’
      • ‘It immediately recalls the contemporary paintings of Johannes Phokela, whose re-workings of European Old Masters insert black figures into otherwise Western contexts.’
      • ‘The puzzle with which he is concerned strongly recalls the ‘Master Argument’ of Diodorus Cronus, especially in certain further details.’
      • ‘The column triggered a fusillade that recalled the sulfurous exchanges between Joseph Pulitzer and his contemporaries in an earlier era.’
      • ‘The domed stupa of Buddhist architecture recalls the simple mound of earth while its gates memorialise the forest cleared for the monument.’
      • ‘O'Grady's depiction of treachery and oppression by Elizabethan bureaucrats recalled contemporary parallels, thought the reviewer.’
      • ‘Wine, in particular, would recall the blood shed by Christ whom some contemporaries greeted as the Lamb of God.’
      • ‘The track sounded fun and contemporary, while also recalling some of their earlier work.’
      • ‘Sidney's contempt recalls Lodge's low opinion of Gosson's scholarship, especially of his ignorance of Platonic philosophy.’
      • ‘So placed, the light sculpture's flickering luminosity seems to both recall an earlier contemplation and act as new illumination to a newer generation.’
      • ‘Unlike most New York examples, however, this one recalls contemporary German or Austrian models more than the French prototypes.’
      • ‘This technique of cutting up previously existing material and pasting it into a portrait of a human being recalls contemporary experiments in montage.’
      • ‘In a number of respects Solanas's new film recalls his earlier work.’
      • ‘We call it Tudor revival with a twist because it recalls traditional homes in early Seattle neighborhoods, but is contemporary in the way it opens to a multifunctional garden landscape.’
      • ‘The torn sackcloth and protruding tubes of fabric at the center of the canvas recall contemporaneous works by both Alberto Burri and Lee Bontecou.’
      • ‘This is an ensemble policier, an uncommonly sunny film with urban chumminess that recalls contemporary Japanese television serials.’
      • ‘It has a contemporary edge that recalls, without appropriating, the vocabulary of William Forsythe.’
      bring to mind, call to mind, put one in mind of, call up, summon up, conjure up, evoke, echo, allude to
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    2. 1.2Bring the memory or thought of someone or something to (a person or their mind)
      ‘the smell of a blackcurrant bush has ever since recalled to me that evening’
      • ‘Three vivid incidents will always recall him to my mind.’
      • ‘Nothing recalled to me as yet in any way the murderer's features.’
      • ‘As I later recalled my logic to Lauren, she brought up an interesting point.’
      • ‘Ancient memories of treachery and betrayed trust screamed in warning at the very thought, and Bahzell had muttered of gods and wizards while the dream was upon him, even if he couldn't recall the words to his waking mind.’
      • ‘Not surprisingly, these are rougher years and I find I cannot recall the films to mind as readily.’
      • ‘‘We could do anything we wanted,’ said one confessed ‘Nazi from Birmingham’, enthusiastically recalling the tip to a newspaper reporter.’
      • ‘This recalled to mind that one of the security programs asked something about this file.’
    3. 1.3Call up (stored computer data) for processing or display.
      ‘students can recall templates or stored formats’
      • ‘As you talk him through the process, let him recall the data.’
      • ‘This is achieved by feedback control systems that can learn by capturing, storing, recalling, and analysing information.’
      • ‘The data is recalled from tape to disk when next referenced.’
      • ‘A keypad enables users to store and recall specific injection protocols with integrated test injections.’
      • ‘It comes with seamless links to Microsoft Office and has features for storing and recalling information.’
      • ‘There is virtually no limit to the number of setups that can be stored and recalled.’
      • ‘For one thing, computers are a pretty intelligent lot, if the measure of intelligence is the ability to absorb, process and recall vast amounts of information.’
  • 2Officially order (someone) to return to a place.

    ‘the Panamanian ambassador was recalled from Peru’
    • ‘This matter is seen to be so urgent that Senate has been recalled in order to pass such legislation.’
    • ‘He was again recalled in 1868, but returned in 1870 to enter parliament, and served a term as premier.’
    • ‘Last month, Eritrea recalled its ambassador to the African Union saying that the AU has failed to pressure or take disciplinary action against Ethiopia for not living up to the Algiers Agreement.’
    • ‘Upon his return to Amritsar, Guru Hargobind recalled the family from Goindwal.’
    • ‘Even when a practice was prompted to remind a child to return, the decision to actually recall that child was made by the doctor.’
    • ‘The court was invited to order that Mathews be recalled for further cross-examination in the light of material which had become available since the trial, but it refused to follow that course.’
    • ‘The judges rejected two separate attempts to halt the trial, ruling that the issue could be dealt with by recalling Mr Rupert to the stand.’
    • ‘There was, of course, no honeymoon, and to crown it all a telegram arrived at the end of the week recalling my new husband to his unit because the posting had been cancelled.’
    • ‘The claimant was given an extended sentence and after release, but during the period of licence, he was recalled by the Secretary of State and returned to prison.’
    • ‘The Belgian ambassador to Israel was ordered to report to the Israeli Foreign Ministry yesterday, while Israel has recalled its ambassador to Brussels for talks.’
    • ‘Soldiers have already begun recalling troops to their bases, with others returning as civilians to their home villages.’
    • ‘Instead, the whistleblower, who headed the Bucharest embassy's visa processing unit, was recalled.’
    • ‘Within 24 hours, he had recalled the Senate in order to rush through the parliament amendments to existing anti-terror laws.’
    • ‘Hence, intending to install Suseema on the throne, he recalled him and ordered Ashoka to proceed to Takshashila.’
    • ‘In November 1943 Hitler ordered forces to be recalled from the Eastern Front to defend the Atlantic.’
    • ‘The governor recalled the troops, and the workers eventually voted to return to work.’
    • ‘Titan officials are attempting to recall workers in small numbers over an extended period.’
    • ‘He returned to academic life, but in February 1939 Horthy recalled him as Prime Minister.’
    • ‘Venezuela and Mexico are recalling their ambassadors to each other's countries over disparaging remarks about the Mexican president from the president of Venezuela.’
    • ‘The hospital has recalled all doctors on vacation and ordered all medical students to report for duty to help treat the victims.’
    summon back, order back, call back, bring back
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    1. 2.1Select (a sports player) as a member of a team from which they have previously been dropped.
      ‘the Fulham defender has been recalled to the Welsh squad for the World Cup’
      • ‘Hilton was recalled to the squad this week for the first time in two years having finally qualified to play for Scotland on the basis of residence.’
      • ‘Bucks had complained vigorously for having to recall their players who had already gone on holiday for the league recess.’
      • ‘It followed fine performances by the 29-year-old Londoner against West Ham and Leeds after being recalled to the side only because of the club's injury problems.’
      • ‘Drakes was recalled to the national team when he figured in the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka.’
      • ‘Both still train with us every day so know the way we work and one will have to be recalled to provide us with cover.’
      • ‘Michael Duberry admits that he has mixed feelings about being recalled to the Leeds team for tomorrow's FA Cup tie at Birmingham.’
      • ‘He was suspended for two years but successfully appealed the decision in April, and was recalled to the Springboks squad just over a week ago.’
      • ‘England recalled fast bowler Chris Silverwood in a 14-man squad for the second cricket Test against Australia at Lord's on Thursday.’
      • ‘Cullinan was recalled to the South African side for the second Test in Cape Town but withdrew on Tuesday after the United Cricket Board failed to offer him a contract.’
      • ‘Will some of the sacked senior players be recalled?’
      • ‘And it may be only a matter of time before Button is recalled to his first team, especially if Michael Schumacher decides enough is enough and a grand reshuffle ensues.’
      • ‘You've been recalled to the Jamaican squad after three years.’
      • ‘Soon he would be back playing for Everton, and to a standard that had some wondering, unrealistically, whether he might even be recalled to the England squad.’
      • ‘The 19-year-old was recalled to the team for his second appearance as part of a five-pronged seam attack, with spinner Gary Keedy missing out.’
      • ‘Pauleta, the Portugal forward, has been recalled to the starting line-up and will take the place of Nuno Gomes.’
      • ‘Eric Andrews, recalled to the first team for the first time in over three months after impressive displays in the Academy side, led the way with a five-try haul.’
      • ‘Stam has been recalled to the Dutch national squad for their friendly with Spain tomorrow night just weeks after returning from his doping ban.’
      • ‘He should have notched up another three points shortly afterwards when Gareth Thomas, recalled to the team in the centre, was penalised for playing the ball on the floor.’
      • ‘The 25-year-old centre half was recalled to the England squad and made his seventh England appearance during last week's controversial friendly.’
      • ‘Combe could be recalled to face Motherwell tomorrow - his first Dundee United game since December 2000.’
    2. 2.2(of a manufacturer) request all the purchasers of (a certain product) to return it, as the result of the discovery of a fault.
      ‘all 5,128 of its UK Corsas were being recalled because of an electrical fault’
      • ‘Food manufacturers recalled over 300 types of food products for this reason and initiated a series of genetic tests.’
      • ‘The U.S. government has recalled the products in question but retailers have been importing the potpourri and scented pine cones since April’
      • ‘The chip giant could have redesigned the mobos, but instead has decided to recall the whole caboodle.’
      • ‘For the last three years, more goods made in China are recalled from American store shelves than goods made in any other country.’
      • ‘She said the product was subsequently recalled.’
      • ‘Affected companies are recalling products in Ireland and Britain.’
      • ‘All have powers to withdraw or recall a food product.’
      • ‘More than 200 products were recalled in Australia this week when an audit revealed the company's breach of safety standards.’
      • ‘With regards to safety, faulty goods should be recalled by the manufacturer and refunds to the public given no matter where they were purchased.’
      • ‘The manufacturer who distributed hot dogs and delicatessen meats under 11 different brand names has voluntarily recalled the causative products.’
      • ‘They have also been asked to retain any compound feed containing the contaminated material and to recall any such compound feed sold to farmers and retailers.’
      • ‘West Vancouver firefighters are warning residents to check their thermostats after a heating unit which had been recalled by the manufacturer started a fire in a seniors' care home.’
      • ‘Last month 580 products were recalled after a contaminated batch of Worcester Sauce got into thousands of food products including many ready-made meals.’
      • ‘It has come up with the plausible, although ridiculous, excuse that it has software problems with 103,000 handsets and so has had to recall them.’
      • ‘Changes may be as simple as redesigning a cable connection or so complex that the product must be recalled by the manufacturer.’
      • ‘We have an ability to contact those importers, recall any products that we consider to be of high risk, and, of course, publish any further information that is necessary.’
      • ‘Some board manufacturers were not affected; others were able to intercept their deliveries, while some board makers even had to recall products.’
      • ‘A couple of big-time scooter makers had to recall their products when they started to come apart as kids rode them.’
      • ‘They also want to give manufacturers an opportunity to voluntarily recall their products.’
      • ‘Gun dealers aren't required by law to address these defects or to recall their products.’
    3. 2.3Bring (someone) out of a state of inattention or reverie.
      ‘her action recalled him to the present’
      • ‘The smell of the food they were eating and a sense of hunger recalled him from these reflections.’
      • ‘When Georgiana recovered consciousness, she found herself breathing an atmosphere of penetrating fragrance, the gentle potency of which had recalled her from her deathlike faintness.’
      • ‘Andrew was recalled from his morbid reverie by his guide's gentle grasping at his right elbow.’
    4. 2.4archaic Revoke or annul (an action or decision)
      ‘he sent another note to Lord Grey recalling his earlier communication’
      • ‘He then appealed to the Court of Appeal on that point and the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal on the ground that the sentencing judge had no jurisdiction to recall and vary the original sentence.’
      • ‘Thereupon, the district judge recalled his order for a preliminary examination.’
      • ‘Confused with the orders of Judge Vianzon, respondents filed a manifestation seeking clarification whether the judge had recalled his earlier order of inhibition.’
      revoke, rescind, cancel, retract, countermand, take back, withdraw, repeal, veto, overrule, override, abrogate
      View synonyms


  • 1[mass noun] The action or faculty of remembering something learned or experienced.

    ‘people's understanding and subsequent recall of stories or events’
    • ‘It does indicate that I have poor memory recall, though.’
    • ‘Their powers of recall, often stretching back to early childhood memories, are utterly enthralling.’
    • ‘If something has been perceived subliminally, it is stored in a part of the memory that is inaccessible to conscious recall.’
    • ‘Subjects were instructed that they should remember as many words as possible for purposes of subsequent recall.’
    • ‘The second sequential component to happiness is the phenomenon of retrospective recall.’
    • ‘Some of the women were concerned about recall problems, but this was not apparent in the interviews.’
    • ‘I found that Kathy had the most amazing recall and was quite, utterly accurate in virtually everything she told me.’
    • ‘He has an amazing power of recall and an eagerness to state his case.’
    • ‘There was no perceptible improvement in recall.’
    • ‘The fact that this year's panto at the Brewery is such a resounding success is testament to either Sam's amazing powers of recall or his ability under pressure or both!’
    • ‘She was blessed with a wonderful memory and sense of recall and retained her faculties to the end.’
    • ‘I just wish my powers of recall were a little… sharper.’
    • ‘As I rode with Shirley to a show in Denver, it was with amazing recall that she told stories of horses and their owners.’
    • ‘We would not expect that agreement to take part in the study would have altered their recording behaviour or their subsequent recall of the consultations.’
    • ‘Extraordinary memory and recall of events, facts, and/or figures.’
    • ‘Even fewer students have any recall of these topics, as I know from having asked audiences at various colloquia.’
    • ‘Martin John was also blessed with a great sense of recall and memory and could enliven any gathering with his stories from back through the years.’
    • ‘She had extraordinary recall of the many changes and great events that she witnessed during her long life and she loved to share all those memories with her friends and relatives.’
    • ‘She's a mechanical genius and yet her common sense and memory recall is nil.’
    • ‘This simulates clinical interface with a patient testing recall, understanding, and communications skills all at once.’
    recollection, memory, remembrance
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  • 2An act or instance of officially recalling someone or something.

    ‘a recall of Parliament’
    • ‘The Drugs Agency still lacks the power to order the recall of contaminated meat.’
    • ‘Midfielder Richard Cooper is expected to be available despite a kick on his calf yesterday and Chris Smith and Leigh Wood may also get recalls after being left out of yesterday's 16-man squad.’
    • ‘That could mean an instant recall for Liam George, who was dropped to the bench at Yeovil.’
    • ‘The assassination of Hariri led to the recall of the US ambassador from Damascus and warnings about Syrian sponsorship of terrorism.’
    • ‘If Berkovic imagined his move to Ewood Park would mean an instant recall to first team duties he must indeed be blessed with a hugely inflated ego.’
    • ‘A short stint at Class AAA Indianapolis was all it took to earn a recall to the majors.’
    • ‘But the judges did not order the recall of parliament or the reinstatement of Chaudhry's government.’
    • ‘But five of the six who were absent at Castleford - Sonny Nickle, John Duffy, Michael Watts, Alan Hadcroft and Paul Rowley - are set for recalls against Rochdale.’
    • ‘The recalls for Barrow and Beveridge are just reshuffling.’
    • ‘‘I went along to the first audition in London, and five recalls later I got the job,’ she says.’
    • ‘We were the first to call for a recall of parliament.’
    • ‘Although the audience was not as big as expected, the people there were true Coughlan fans and she really deserved her two recalls.’
    • ‘Dalyell's arguments for immediate recall of parliament seem to me to be unanswerable.’
    • ‘Skipper Mark Hotte and vice-captain Nathan Peat are both pushing for recalls.’
    • ‘Richard Hope, like Nogan not even named among the substitutes on Tuesday, could earn an instant recall.’
    • ‘The injuries could see Derek Stillie and Kevin Sharp earn recalls to the first team.’
    • ‘With striker Colin Alcide ruled out through injury and Mark Sertori relegated to the bench, there were starting recalls for midfielder Paul Talbot and John Williams.’
    • ‘Introducing judicial recalls will simply replicate this seventeenth century problem, only with the people in the place of the king.’
    revocation, rescinding, cancellation, cancelling, retraction, retracting, countermanding, withdrawal, abrogation, repeal, vetoing, veto
    summoning back, ordering back, calling back
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1North American The removal of an elected government official from office by a petition followed by voting.
      • ‘Camejo was an early and avid supporter of the recall and continues to officially call for a ‘yes’ vote on removing Davis from office.’
      • ‘Davis last night became the second governor in American history to be thrown from office in a recall vote.’
      • ‘Thus the legal process for recalling the current village committee director was on the way.’
      • ‘Wednesday, one of his political advisers said he will make a formal announcement after the recall is officially certified and a date for the ballot is set.’
      • ‘Would a Davis resignation cancel the recall, and leave Bustamante as governor?’
  • 3Computing
    The proportion of the number of relevant documents retrieved from a database in response to an enquiry.

    ‘expert systems can produce solutions with the speed, recall, accuracy, and consistency that only a computer can provide’
    • ‘The (q) of a block is a function of its recall probability and size.’
    • ‘It has high recall and high precision, but has the disadvantage of being an expensive database with high online print royalties.’
    • ‘The effectiveness of a search can be measured in terms of recall and precision.’


  • beyond recall

    • In such a way that restoration is impossible.

      ‘shopping developments have already blighted other parts of the city beyond recall’
      • ‘Once the game had gone beyond recall, Mike Ward launched a blistering attack on the Blackpool bowlers to end his innings on 82.’
      • ‘It seemed to me that this necessarily complex structure was ruined beyond recall.’
      • ‘But it can offer no way back and an overs match where the first batting side collapses is a match gone beyond recall.’
      • ‘The time of provincial economic processes has passed beyond recall.’
      • ‘However the winner was beyond recall by then and had a length and a half to spare at the line in 17.71.’
      • ‘Gilmour netted another corner four minutes from time, and put the game beyond recall for the visitors.’
      • ‘The Age of Religious Culture is apparently past, perhaps beyond recall.’
      • ‘Adam's face darkened, and his teasing, light-hearted mood was gone beyond recall.’
      • ‘The glorious past belonged in the age of heroes and was lost beyond recall; the real past was full of trickery, violence and abuse, both within individual cities and in relations between cities.’
      • ‘The other passengers are immolated beyond recall.’


Late 16th century (as a verb): from re- ‘again’+ call, suggested by Latin revocare or French rappeler call back.