Definition of summon in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Authoritatively or urgently call on (someone) to be present, especially as a defendant or witness in a law court.

    ‘the Pope summoned Anselm to Rome’
    • ‘Police say the student was summoned by a call to his mobile.’
    • ‘Her parents were summoned from their Bradford home and told she ‘did not fit in’ and would not be completing her training.’
    • ‘It tasted great too, so it was with heavy heart that I summoned a waiter over and told him I had never ordered rabbit before and I simply did not like the taste.’
    • ‘She's been looking for a new job for over 2 years so when she found out she'd got this one, she summoned me round immediately to drink champagne with her.’
    • ‘I start the day by catching up on some well earned sleep, but by lunchtime my flatmates have summoned me to Selfridges.’
    • ‘So in accordance with legend, myth and custom, a local musician is summoned to play sweet harmonies that will reunite mother and child and also cause the mother camel to weep tears of joy.’
    • ‘She studied him as he summoned the waitress and ordered more tea, and found what she saw to her liking.’
    • ‘In the spring of 1935 she was summoned home because of her father's failing health and, back in England, she was courted by Prince Henry, then a career army officer.’
    • ‘Both males summoned him over to their car to offer him directions before snatching his phone.’
    • ‘With no church bell summoning us to worship, we have to decide what to do with our time - and depressingly most of us are spending it on the number one modern pastime: shopping.’
    • ‘Walk alongside Mosedale Beck and after a short while gaze in awe at the steep ascent summoning you.’
    • ‘We were summoned back to the dining room where the investigation would commence, and we would both hear the evidence against each of the suspects and interpose with our own questions.’
    • ‘Mr Keith Luxford, owner of the stables, was called, and he in turn summoned a veterinary surgeon.’
    • ‘Once he had finished them off, he summoned the waitress, looped his forefinger in the air and said, ‘Do it again.’’
    • ‘Marital relations are conducted in the gardens, one story being that the woman is summoned by her husband tormenting their pigs until they squeal.’
    • ‘But at intermission, people ran to telephones and summoned their friends, announcing that something magnificent was happening.’
    • ‘I was duly summoned to the front row of the upper circle to watch my niece take her very first faltering steps towards an Equity card.’
    • ‘Waiters were summoned and I wonder what it's worth to McVities to know that their digestives are the favourite nibble of the royal pooches.’
    • ‘The Maharishi summoned us to a room full of flowers and colour where he talked about life's journey, reincarnation and release from pain.’
    send for, call for, ask for, request the presence of, demand the presence of
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    1. 1.1 Urgently demand (help)
      ‘she summoned medical assistance’
      • ‘Her GP arrived and immediately summoned the air ambulance which took her to hospital in Worksop.’
      • ‘‘Not one of the boys went to his aid, or thereafter summoned help, or displayed any concern for their hapless victim,’ said Mr Martin.’
      • ‘Care On Call involves residents summoning emergency help by using their phone or a pendant worn round their neck or on their wrist.’
      • ‘He tried to summon help but the call buttons had still not been repaired.’
      • ‘And they said the mobile phone they used to summon help had only one bar of battery power left when they found a signal.’
      • ‘Under the proposals put forward by BT, a robbery victim wouldn't even be able to use a public call box to summon help.’
      • ‘We are now all in constant touch with each other and the control room and can summon help quickly when the need arises.’
      • ‘The fire quickly spread to the roof and was spotted by a policeman who summoned help.’
      • ‘Taking two Playstation games and a travelcard, the girls ran off leaving the boy's 14-year-old brother to summon help.’
      • ‘Unable to swim or summon help, he soon lost consciousness and floated face down just a few metres off the beach at the resort of Los Christianos in May.’
      • ‘Or is it the way that British nationals were left to their own devices while vainly trying to summon help from local embassies?’
      • ‘The local school was broken into, a man and woman were viciously assaulted, another family had to summon help to prevent their house being broke into and car stolen.’
      • ‘Police say in such circumstances it would be unwise to restrain the patient on a one-to-one basis and it is better to summon help.’
      • ‘Several people reported that it was only when a symptom in common with the previous acute myocardial infarction occurred that they summoned medical help.’
      • ‘The shop assistants refused to hand over any cash and the two masked raiders fled when one of the women activated a fire alarm to summon help.’
      • ‘One of the men managed to grab onto a tree, reach safety and summon help.’
      • ‘They should summon help immediately and activate the fire plan.’
      • ‘The mobile phone is certainly a must for pedestrians as in times of distress they can summon immediate help.’
      • ‘In the bedroom and bathroom are other safety gadgets - alarms that automatically summon help if the floor floods, or if the wearer takes a fall.’
      • ‘Volvo's latest wheeze is an optional communications package that uses telematics to summon help in an emergency.’
    2. 1.2 Call people to attend (a meeting)
      ‘he summoned a meeting of head delegates’
      • ‘He therefore refused to recognize the Anglo-Portuguese treaty and summoned an international conference to Berlin to settle the African question once and for all.’
      • ‘Government officials and Bigombe were summoned Wednesday for a meeting in the president's village in western Uganda.’
      • ‘The meeting was hastily summoned to resolve the dispute over the promotional rights of the tournament when two Cape Town promoters vied to stage it.’
      • ‘He summoned a family meeting to plot a fightback.’
      • ‘Finally, Duncan was summoned to a meeting with a local mafia boss and the car was returned to him in exchange for 12,000 Swiss francs.’
      • ‘The following day all the competitors were summoned to a meeting and shown a map of Rio.’
      • ‘He was accused of treachery and was summoned to a closed meeting with the leaders of his group.’
      • ‘Bonds with Rome had been strengthened, as the Holy See summoned the meetings, suggested agenda, and approved conciliar decrees.’
      • ‘The assembly was summoned according to article four of the 1878 Berlin Treaty, which reaffirmed the independence of Bulgaria.’
      • ‘Manda proposed that the ZRFU should summon a meeting of councillors to discuss the change of tenure of office from two to four years and then hold elections for new office bearers.’
      • ‘The journalists summoned a mandatory meeting for his immediate reinstatement.’
      • ‘A European conference was summoned at Constantinople, but its decisions were rejected by the Turks, as were subsequent proposals by the powers.’
      • ‘The holding has filed in court several objections; the main being that the meeting was summoned by a management not listed in the Trade Register.’
      • ‘By 1774 the Americans had summoned a congress to concert resistance and most Britons were convinced that the lawlessness of the colonists could not be tolerated.’
      • ‘His trade was as a tanner, but he was also involved in wholesale commerce, and in 1356 was summoned to attend a national merchant assembly.’
      • ‘But he also summoned Congress for a special session to discuss repealing parts of the Act, and on 4 November a new one was passed.’
      • ‘It is possible that Democrats, if in control, might not have summoned a special session.’
      • ‘The hermits, unable to find an answer to Narad's question, summoned a great assembly.’
      • ‘The government's intention in summoning the conference, with a predetermined verdict in favour of the Catholics, was to justify a subsequent policy of steady pressure on the Donatist laity.’
      • ‘"She was worried, but now she is assured, " Singh told a hastily summoned press conference here.’
      convene, assemble, order, call, muster, rally, levy, round up
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    3. 1.3 Bring to the surface (a particular quality or reaction) from within oneself.
      ‘she managed to summon up a smile’
      • ‘At 21-14 it looked as if Ashton's drop goal could be vital, but the Dragons could not summon up the energy for the final effort.’
      • ‘Quite how they could summon up the energy for their second half display will remain a mystery but summon up the energy they did.’
      • ‘But smaller parties and independent candidates could not summon these resources at such short notice, and so were at a disadvantage, Scallon said.’
      • ‘When life deals her another blow, Kiki must summon every ounce of inspiration to overcome it.’
      • ‘He must now make an effort to summon the energy to do what once came naturally.’
      • ‘He said he was summoning his years of physical and spiritual training as a fighting monk.’
      • ‘To summon up some pre-broadcast interest, Starkey's been banging his tambourine for England at the expense of the Scots, which shows the desperate dullness of his subject.’
      • ‘There were times in that second half though when it seemed neither team would summon up the collective nerve to win.’
      • ‘That's a perspective Bell might not have been able to summon five years ago.’
      • ‘Not for a further 25 years did Dallapiccola summon up the courage to write to Schoenberg and explain how that evening had been a defining moment in his life.’
      • ‘Now that Riffs is on the shop racks, he cannot bring himself to summon up any more enthusiasm.’
      • ‘Practical solutions lie well within our grasp if we can summon up the political will to act.’
      • ‘Kate swallowed hard and summoned every bit of courage that had remained, which wasn't very much.’
      • ‘A few people worked out what was going on, but couldn't summon up the interest to write in.’
      • ‘He summons every bit of his charisma to inject his character with life, and make his CIA agent a cinematic treat and based on reality in equal parts.’
      • ‘He was challenged with the test of summoning the inner resources needed to actualize Abraham's mighty vision and bring it down to earth.’
      • ‘Wanderers didn't strain every sinew and summon every ounce of effort to gain promotion just to spend a season in the Premiership playing for sympathy.’
      • ‘I don't know if it's a gift I truly possess but I do admit it helps when I am able to summon it up.’
      • ‘I admire that degree of attention to appearance, but I rarely manage to summon it up when I'm getting myself ready to leave the house.’
      • ‘In a split second, her crew had to summon every ounce of leadership, courage and training they had ever known to rescue shipmates and help keep their ship afloat.’
      muster, gather, collect, rally, call into action, mobilize, screw up
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    4. 1.4summon something up Call an image to mind.
      ‘names that summon up images of far-off places’
      • ‘The emphatic gold cross of the foreground casts what is in effect its shadow, in the off-white form ‘behind’ it, to summon depth and encourage our involvement.’
      • ‘To a modern audience pewter and brass collections traditionally summon up images of the country pub.’
      • ‘I know men who when facing difficulty summon up images of themselves as Russell Crowe in Gladiator.’
      • ‘What distinguishes this work from her previous evocations of food is her absolute dedication to summoning it up intensely.’
      • ‘It takes so much energy to summon up the images from the other world that the face is all that can be seen in detail - or so the theory goes.’
      • ‘I know it constitutes an effort to summon up a sense of everyday life in a small town that is not precisely like every other in Germany.’
      • ‘As he searches his notebooks, images from earlier films are summoned up.’
      • ‘The word summons up some outdated, maternal plea - Couldn't you wear a skirt just this once?’
      • ‘In idle moments I liked to summon up an image of her naked feet, long and intelligent, aglitter with down, toenails painted red as the leather of her boots.’
      call to mind, bring to mind, call forth, call up, conjure up, evoke, recall, revive, invoke, raise, arouse, kindle, awaken, excite, stir up, spark, spark off, provoke
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Middle English: from Old French somondre, from Latin summonere ‘give a hint’, later ‘call, summon’, from sub- ‘secretly’ + monere ‘warn’.