Is there a word to describe the situation where you call someone and hang up so they call you back? The purpose of this is usually so that they get the calling charges.

I was thinking it's kind of like 'poking' or 'tagging' them? Like a 'poke/tag call'.


I voted on Tim Lewis' answer as it was the most interesting and it also suggested the answer which makes the most sense. Because we don't have a word for this in the English language, the word Ping can now be used as follows:

Ping (verb): the act of calling someone and then hanging up with the intent of having them call back.

Addendum: Based on this article Wayne Werner linked to in a below comment, the practice is known as beeping. This article lays out the reasons for beeping and the social protocol around it.

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    People I know say ring me (as opposed to call me) in this situation, but I don't know how standard that is, as some people use ring as a synonym for call. – user13141 Nov 14 '11 at 21:21
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    I don't know of a specific word or phrase for this. – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Nov 14 '11 at 21:46
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    My friends say, "Give me a missed call". – tenfour Nov 14 '11 at 23:40
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    This practice is so popular in certain regions of Africa that they actually built an entire side-network that rings are shunted to because they would eat up the normal network bandwidth. I saw an article on it a few years back, but they might have a term for the practice. – Wayne Werner Nov 16 '11 at 19:24
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    @ChrisM: not sure if this is the article I read, but it has a lot of the same information FoxNews. Miskin, flashing, and bipage are among the terms they use. – Wayne Werner Nov 16 '11 at 19:38

12 Answers 12


Apparently in Czech its called "Prozvonit" which in English is close to "ping" "pinging". Also I've heard people call it "prank" "pranking".

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    "Pranking" is usually meant to imply a practical joke. – jprete Nov 15 '11 at 1:01
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    "Prozvonit" has the connotation of "ring through" or "ring for"... not sure this overtone would be understandable in English, but "ping" is the closest word we have for it. – Andrew Vit Nov 15 '11 at 8:47
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    I like pinging. – user13141 Nov 15 '11 at 9:14
  • Many of my business-jargon-using friends will indeed ask me to "ping them", but it has a different meaning (at least when they use it, and its employment is ubiquitous): it means to contact them, suggesting that they will answer. – msanford Nov 15 '11 at 16:19
  • I feel that saying 'ping me' (instead of 'ring my phone and I'll call you back') would make sense and would be a good word except that if I said it to my friends now, no one would actually understand my meaning. Perhaps the meaning of 'ping' should be officially established to include this definion. – ChrisM Nov 15 '11 at 17:20

My friend regularly uses the expression to ring one's phone.

Ex: "Ring my phone when you're over the bridge," the implication being that he won't answer because I'm calling his phone, rather than calling him.

I would note that this is distinct from onomatomaniak's comment-answer to ring someone, which is a British English colloquialism for calling someone.

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    I've heard this one (and probably used it) myself. – jprete Nov 15 '11 at 1:00
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    One could also say "ring my number" – Andrew Vit Nov 15 '11 at 8:49
  • @AndrewVit I suppose so! It has (nearly) the same semantic value. – msanford Nov 15 '11 at 16:17
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    I feel that of all the proposals so far 'ring my phone' makes the most sense, however it's a phrase and not a word. Saying 'ring me' has the same meaning as 'call me'. Even still, however, I feel most people would interpret 'ring my phone' as 'call me and I'll answer' not 'call me and I'll not pick up and I will call you back'. – ChrisM Nov 15 '11 at 17:16

The term I have always used is drop call.

If you drop call someone you hope they'll call you back, but it can make the recipient a bit annoyed.


This is a form of what services like this one call a trigger.

The situation you're describing triggers a manual response rather than an automated one:

A customer simply dials our U.S. "trigger number", lets it ring once and hangs up before it answers. Within seconds, our computer rings back the caller.


Sometimes it's easier to say it in another language.

And, there might not exist a word in English that fits the situation, according to this article.

Perhaps we could borrow the word prozvonit from the Czech language.

  • Honestly, that word is too long for the suggested definition. If a word was to be adopted it would most likely be much shorter. Perhaps a derivation of that Czech word, though I can't think of any. It is more likely that an existing English word with a similar meaning will be modified to include this new definition. – ChrisM Nov 15 '11 at 17:05
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    @ChrisM Agree. Shall we take the initiative :) – Terry Li Nov 15 '11 at 17:46
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    Li Yifeng Let's do this. Watch out blogs, Facebook statuses, and texts everywhere! (so this comment is constructive... the previously mentioned are all valid methods of promoting a new word. Use them all to spread the new definition of 'Ping'!) – ChrisM Nov 15 '11 at 17:57
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    @ChrisM 'Ping' totally rules! – Terry Li Nov 15 '11 at 18:02
  • In Italian they say give me a "squillo" (i.e. a ring), makes it easy to derive a squeal. "Give me a squeal when you get back home from the party." – Xantix Jul 17 '13 at 10:11

I've only known one word for it: Callback

I first heard this in the BBS days, where it provides enhanced security. Also good when a friend calls me from the UK on his mobile (I'm from Los Angeles and in Vermont). More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callback_%28telecommunications%29


Ping, touch, signal, RSVP, hint...


I have heard this referred to as "Phone Tag". Regardless of your intent, if your initial call doesn't succeed and you are called back, you are playing phone tag.

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    I had this word in mind actually but I disregarded it as I thought that the assumed intent of "phone tag" (trying to actually contact the person) was part of the definition. Here and here are definitions of phone tag. These definitions include the intent to contact the other party. – ChrisM Nov 15 '11 at 17:11

In the UK, certainly in the North-East, it is known as a "one-ringer".

It's essential where you let the phone ring once, giving the person you are calling little chance of answering.

They either hear the phone or see the missed call and call you back.

I've got no credit on my mobile so I'll give him a one-ringer and he'll call me back.


This expression does not only exist in Czech, but in Spanish as well.

It's very usual among teenagers in Spain to "give a touch" (dar un toque)

I had this nagging feeling talking with a british friend looking for a word to describe this and ended up saying "I will touch your phone so you know when to call me back"

The poor guy answered "how are you going to touch my phone? you will be in the street."

Later I asked him and we decided the best translation would be "I will ring you" as at least that conveys the meaning of an unfinished phone call.

  • In Spanish you also hear it called simple "una perdida" as in "dame una perdida" (give me a lost/missed call). – user0721090601 Sep 16 '14 at 1:01

One way of describing this is "reversing the charges."


A Nepali friend of mine says give me a knock.

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