What does the expression "call past" mean? See some usages below:

I called past the supermarket on the way home from the office.

He just called past and asked to gather the team in the canteen.

Gary called past to check if Jimmy was doing okay.

  • 3
    I have never heard this expression.
    – user11550
    Dec 16 '11 at 5:24
  • 1
    @Mahnax--Neither have I.
    – simchona
    Dec 16 '11 at 5:34
  • @simchona Too localized....?
    – user11550
    Dec 16 '11 at 5:39
  • 1
    How can this be a NARQ?
    – apaderno
    Dec 16 '11 at 6:20
  • 2
    Context? Could you tell us where the example statements occur? That can help, I suppose. If they are online sources, can you provide links?
    – Kris
    Dec 16 '11 at 8:51

I grew up with it. I can't believe that it is only an Australian saying. It does mean "to stop in"

  • I.e. to call in or stop by? In my experience, stop in is opposed to go out. That's the problem with short prepostional phrases; they have too many possible meanings. Dec 16 '11 at 12:19
  • Believe it. I've encountered a few Australians who had a hard time believing similar things (for example, that Americans don't pronounce "aussie" as "ozzie", and that Americans don't use "beanie" to mean a winter cap -- although that seems to have changed recently).
    – phoog
    Dec 16 '11 at 18:35
  • @phoog. After a night, a reread and a thought, I realise that you are right. I can't stand the americans saying 'uh-see' insteed of 'oz-ze'. But seriously, it's hard to remember, or even know, what is only local/regional when we have tv and audio shows from around the world. I am sure that many words we aussies use are from the States, but many Americans don't seem to know them. But then the same goes for what we think of as from Engliand. Other phrases that mean the same are 'popped in', 'called by', 'popped by', 'called into'. Many others I can't think of ATM.
    – Aaron
    Dec 16 '11 at 21:40
  • As an American (US), I've never said or heard "aussie" pronounced as "uh-see". What seems common to me is to pronounce it as "aw-zee". Apr 19 '16 at 9:16

Call past is equivalent to stop in while on the way somewhere else, as far as I recall its usage in books, films, and "BritCom" TV shows. (Stop in is American for stop by or visit.)

Here are two instances in books. Notes: Shirramore is in central Scotland. McMullen was born in Sale, Victoria, Australia.

Chambers's journal 1939, p. 272 -

In any case, I'll call past and drop Archie at Shirramore, where he seems anxious to call!

Sean McMullen, Glass Dragons, p. 94 -

"I meant it when I said call past if ever you travel here again," she insisted.

  • 1
    I've never heard it or heard of it. Perhaps I don't watch enough BritCom TV shows. Dec 16 '11 at 8:00
  • @Barrie - Me too, since here in the U.S., only a tiny fraction of the many BritCom shows are shown. Anyhow, I've added two examples (from books) to my answer. Dec 16 '11 at 18:13
  • It seems to be an Australian saying, so maybe it's not that prevalent in BritComs. AusComs, perhaps?
    – phoog
    Dec 16 '11 at 18:33
  • @phoog - I've added note re McMullen born in Victoria Dec 16 '11 at 19:56

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