beckon call/beck and call
This is a fine example of what linguists call “popular etymology.” People don’t understand the origins of a word or expression and make one up based on what seems logical to them. “Beck” is just an old, shortened version of “beckon.” If you are at people’s beck and call it means they can summon you whenever they want: either by gesture (beck) or speech (call).
This is the ten-year anniversary of the Common Errors in English Usage calendar. To celebrate, we are bringing back some of our favorite interesting, funny, but sometimes merely silly entries through the years before going on hiatus in 2016.
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