I recently entered into an argument with my Mom regarding it's apt use. Though traditionally, it implied servitude, but hasn't it's meaning changed over the years? Basically, is using it to a Professor/Higher Authority convey servitude or politeness?
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I belive it is "beck and call*":
Call has it's normal meaning, however:
(NB "isn't one that is found outside of this phrase" isn't strictly true - it also means a small stream. I assume that that quote means it is only used meaning "beckon" when in this phrase).
"entirely subservient" - so the answer is servitude.
Quotes are from phrases.org
Beckon call, from Urban Dictionary:
According to the Phrase Finder:
As Dan Bron has nicely pointed out in his comment the expression is servile and used especially with higher authorities.