Definitions

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

  • n. A telephone call that one requests to occur at a specific time in order to be woken up, especially in a hotel.
  • n. A sign or warning that alerts one to negative or dangerous behavior or circumstances: "Her personal life was spiraling out of control . . . and her brush with death came as a wake-up call” ( Geraldine Fabrikant).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A telephone call to awaken someone at a certain time, especially one requested by the person while staying at a hotel.
  • n. An alert, reminder, or call to action caused by a dramatic event.

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

  • n. a warning to take action concerning something that was overlooked or neglected
  • n. a telephone call that you request be made a specific time in order to wake you up at that time (especially in hotels)

Etymologies

wake-up + call (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Ron Evans, the capsule communicator for the night shift, made the wake-up call to the LM crew at 9:32 A.M.

    First Man

  • Her near-death experience on Teneb had been a wake-up call for her to move on with her life, but there were days when she still felt like she was walking through mud.

    Creative Couplings

  • Jessica Mitford’s critique of the funeral industry in The American Way of Death in 1963 was a wake-up call that there was something both superficial and delusional about how we honored our loved ones.

    The Truth About Grief

  • In spite of the sobering wake-up call delivered by theApollo I tape, the first year of our TFNG indoctrination was one of euphoria.

    Riding Rockets

  • When Tim Belcher criticized his Dodger teammates for run-of-the-mill play and said that Atlanta catching them in the standings might be the wake-up call they needed, Lasorda mocked him: Belcher said that?

    Baseball’s Even Greater Insults

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