#1 – call it a day
This expression means to stop doing something (especially working) because the work is complete or because no more progress is being made.
“We’ve written 20 pages of the report. Let’s call it a day.”
#2 – call the shots
The expression “call the shots” means to be in charge, to be the boss, to make the important decisions.
“Sorry, I can’t give you approval for this part of the project. You should talk to Diana, she’s the one calling the shots.”
It comes from the sports of pool (billiards) and target shooting, where skilled players say exactly where they are going to put the ball or bullet before they shoot.
#3 – call someone’s bluff
To call someone’s bluff is to make someone prove something, because you believe they are lying. For example, if your friend is bragging that he has $100,000 in his bank account, asking to see his bank statement would be “calling his bluff” – you’re challenging him to prove that what he is saying is true.
This expression comes from poker, in which a player can stay in the game by pretending that he has better cards than he really does. When you make someone show their cards to reveal the real situation, you are “calling their bluff.”
#4 – wake-up call
This expression has two meanings:
First, a “wake-up call” is when you are staying in a hotel, and you ask the receptionist to call the telephone in your hotel room at a certain time in the morning, to wake you up:
“I’d like a wake-up call at 7:30 tomorrow morning, please.”
“A wake-up call” can also mean a sign or signal that alerts you to danger, or to a bigger problem:
“The fatal car accident last week was a wake-up call for teenagers regarding the dangers of texting while driving.”
#5 – a close call
This expression also has two meanings:
1. In a sports game or competition, if the difference between the winner and the others is (or will be) very small:
“Currently, 49% of voters support Smith and 51% support Jones. This election is going to be a close call.”
2. When something bad almost happened, but didn’t happen:
“It was a very close call – the firemen pulled her out of the burning car just a few minutes before it exploded.”