Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A call by an authority to appear, come, or do something.
  • n. Law A notice summoning a defendant to appear in court.
  • n. Law A notice summoning a person to report to court as a juror or witness.
  • transitive v. Law To serve a court summons to.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A call to do something, especially to come.
  • n. A notice summoning someone to appear in court, as a defendant, juror or witness.
  • v. To serve someone with a summons.
  • v. Third-person singular simple present indicative form of summon.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of summoning; a call by authority, or by the command of a superior, to appear at a place named, or to attend to some duty.
  • n. A warning or citation to appear in court; a written notification signed by the proper officer, to be served on a person, warning him to appear in court at a day specified, to answer to the plaintiff, testify as a witness, or the like.
  • n. A demand to surrender.
  • transitive v. To summon.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A call, especially by authority or the command of a superior, to appear at a place named, or to attend to some public duty; an invitation, request, or order to go to or appear at some place, or to do some other specified thing; a call with more or less earnestness or insistence.
  • In law, a call by authority to appear in a court or before a judicial officer; also, the document by which such call is given; a citation to appear before a judge or magistrate.
  • Milit., a call to surrender.
  • To serve with a summons; summon.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. call in an official matter, such as to attend court
  • n. a request to be present
  • n. an order to appear in person at a given place and time
  • n. a writ issued by authority of law; usually compels the defendant's attendance in a civil suit; failure to appear results in a default judgment against the defendant

Etymologies

Middle English somons, from Old French somonse, from feminine past participle of somondre, to summon; see summon.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French sumunce (modern French semonce), from popular Latin *summonsa, a noun use of the feminine past participle of summoneō, summonēre ("to summon"). (Wiktionary)
Inflected forms. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But in some ways the phrase summons what has happened in architecture since 9/11.

    The Skyscraper as a Pillar of Confidence

  • When the legislature confers on a police officer the same power to deprive an individual of his liberty by arrest with or without a warrant, with all the attendant circumstances, for a trivial offence warranting a fine of a few dollars as it does in the case of robbery or murder, or to arrest when a summons is all that is required, it alienates the public support for law and law enforcement and undermines the authority of all law.

    The State and the Individual

  • A second messenger interrupted with imperative summons from the council.

    The Sun of the Wolf

  • There's the literal, like Chocobos, Moogles and certain summons; and the less so, like a particular visual and musical aesthetic, or themes of war ethics or class struggles.

    Archive 2008-04-01

  • When the extraordinary summons from the lawyers arrives, informing her that she has inherited a property on the demise of a mother she had thought died when she was three, she sets off north in search of answers.

    Seizure « Tales from the Reading Room

  • I picked it up like a jury summons, which is to say, unenthusiastically.

    AMERICAN SUBVERSIVE

  • Typing his name summons him to a thread, most likely with a string of condescending insults and drummed-up outrage over the fact that we're calling him a troll.

    McCain Campaign Slams New York Times: Not A Journalistic Organization "By Any Standard"

  • The word summons up images of late-night cram sessions, essays fleshed out with as many adjectives as can fit onto a sheet of wide-ruled paper, bibliographies that are technically works of fiction, and grades that are lower than we secretly believe they ought to be.

    seanan_mcguire: Thoughts on Writing #32: Deadlines.

  • Instead, the name summons up unsparing caricature: grime, gangsters, pollution, ugly highways, Byzantine shopping malls, Saharan parking lots and a level of culture somewhere between troglodyte and troll.

    The Hidden State of Culture

  • On October 13th, 2006, he has received a summons from a Criminal Judge announcing him that he is held responsible of the crime of supporting Israel and also of acting against Palestinian people.

    Rum story from Spain

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Comments

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  • So where does the final -s come from, qroqqa? Some English noun or verb inflection that's been fused onto it? ← READER'S VOICE

    No, it's an almost original part of it. It came with the word from French into English: forms such as sumunse, somonse suggest a Late Latin *summonsa, a past participle of summonĕre, earlier summonēre (sub "under", mon- "warn"). I didn't know that.

    August 29, 2008