What is the difference between the verbs "call" and "ring" in the meaning of telephoning? For example:

  • I will ring you back shortly.
  • I will call you back shortly.

The two words are identical in meaning here. The usage of call is obvious, while the usage of ring simply originated from the noise a telephone makes when you call someone.

Ring is definitely a more informal word, so if in doubt, use call.

  • 3
    Regional variation - In the US, prefer "I'll call you back shortly" over "I'll ring you back shortly". In my experience, we (Americans) never say "I'll ring you back." We do, however, frequently say, "I'll give you a ring," but this is quite informal. – ssakl Aug 29 '10 at 21:55

Ring is generally used in the UK, while call is used in the US. There's no difference in meaning.

  • 1
    I'm British, and I'd be more likely to say "call". To me, "ring" feels slightly old-fashioned. – Steve Melnikoff Aug 22 '10 at 19:16
  • 2
    This is not a UK-US distinction. I've heard plenty of Americans use ring and British use call. – Noldorin Aug 22 '10 at 19:22
  • 5
    Never ever heard an American say this, unless they affected a goofy British accent and ended with "Cheerio!" – moioci Aug 22 '10 at 21:52

Ring is very common in Australia and New Zealand, and probably somewhat frequent in the U.K. and Ireland, but call is basically always used in the U.S.


I've heard "give * a ring" in the US, but never "ring *"

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.