from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To ask or order to return.
  • transitive verb To remember; recollect.
  • transitive verb To be reminiscent of; seem similar to.
  • transitive verb To summon back to awareness of or concern with the subject or situation at hand.
  • transitive verb To cancel, take back, or revoke.
  • transitive verb To bring back; restore.
  • transitive verb To subject (an elected official) to a recall.
  • transitive verb To request return of (a product) to the manufacturer, as for necessary repairs or adjustments.
  • noun The act of recalling or summoning back, especially an official order to return.
  • noun A signal, such as a bugle call, used to summon troops back to their posts.
  • noun The ability to remember information or experiences.
  • noun The act of revoking.
  • noun The procedure by which an elected official may be removed from office by popular vote.
  • noun The right to employ this procedure.
  • noun A request by the manufacturer of a product that has been identified as defective to return it, as for necessary repairs or adjustments.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A calling back; a summons to return; a demand for reappearance, as of a performer after he has left the stage (usually indicated by long-continued applause): as, the recall of an ambassador; the recall of an actor.
  • noun A calling back to mind; the act of summoning up the memory of something; a bringing back from the past.
  • noun Revocation; countermand; retraction; abrogation.
  • noun A musical call played on a drum, bugle, or trumpet to summon back soldiers to the ranks or to camp.
  • noun A signal-flag used to recall a boat to a ship.
  • To call back from a distance; summon or cause to return or to be returned; bring back by a call, summons, or demand: as, to recall an ambassador or a ship; we cannot recall our lost youth.
  • To call back to mind or perception; renew the memory or experience of; bring again, as something formerly experienced.
  • To revoke; take back, as something given or parted with; countermand; abrogate; cancel: as, to recall a decree or an order; to recall an edition of a book.
  • Synonyms Recant, Abjure, etc. (see renounce); Repeal, Rescind, etc. (see abolish).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A calling back; a revocation.
  • noun (Mil.) A call on the trumpet, bugle, or drum, by which soldiers are recalled from duty, labor, etc.
  • noun The right or procedure by which a public official, commonly a legislative or executive official, may be removed from office, before the end of his term of office, by a vote of the people to be taken on the filing of a petition signed by a required number or percentage of qualified voters.
  • noun Short for recall of judicial decisions, the right or procedure by which the decision of a court may be directly reversed or annulled by popular vote, as was advocated, in 1912, in the platform of the Progressive party for certain cases involving the police power of the state.
  • transitive verb To call back; to summon to return
  • transitive verb To revoke; to annul by a subsequent act; to take back; to withdraw.
  • transitive verb To call back to mind; to revive in memory; to recollect; to remember.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The action or fact of calling someone or something back.
  • noun Memory; the ability to remember.
  • noun In Information retrieval, the fraction of (all) relevant material that is returned by a search

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

  • verb make unavailable; bar from sale or distribution
  • verb summon to return
  • verb cause to be returned
  • noun a bugle call that signals troops to return
  • noun the process of remembering (especially the process of recovering information by mental effort)
  • noun a call to return
  • verb cause one's (or someone else's) thoughts or attention to return from a reverie or digression
  • verb recall knowledge from memory; have a recollection
  • verb call to mind
  • noun a request by the manufacturer of a defective product to return the product (as for replacement or repair)
  • verb go back to something earlier
  • noun the act of removing an official by petition


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From re- +‎ call, probably modelled on Latin revocare, French rappeler, English withcall.


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  • "Melissa Xxxxx would like to recall the message, 'NT Library Event Invitation - Xxx Xxxx Book Launch'."

    That's the second similar message in a week. The other one was from a different source, although also a mailing list. I replied to that one "I'm sorry, Ken, once it's been emailed it stays emailed."

    I just wonder what I'm supposed to do when someone 'recalls' an email. Send it back to them?

    December 8, 2008