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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English somouns (order or command to do something), borrowed from Old French sumunce (modern French semonce), from Vulgar Latin *summonsa, a noun use of the feminine past participle of summoneō, summonēre (to summon).


summons (plural summonses)

  1. A call to do something, especially to come.
    • 1630, John Hayward, The Life and Raigne of King Edward VI:
      He sent to summon the seditious, and to offer pardon [] ; but neither summons nor pardon was any thing regarded.
    • 1661, John Fell, The Life of the Most Learned, Reverend and Pious Dr. H. Hammond:
      this summons [] unfit either to dispute or disobey
    • 1818, Henry Hallam, View of the State of Europe during the Middle Ages:
      special summonses by the king
  2. (law) A notice summoning someone to appear in court, as a defendant, juror or witness.
  3. (military) A demand for surrender.
Derived terms[edit]
  • Bengali: সমন (śomon)
  • Cebuano: sumon
  • Malay: saman


summons (third-person singular simple present summonses, present participle summonsing, simple past and past participle summonsed)

  1. (transitive) To serve someone with a summons. [17th C.]
    • 2007 March 15, The Guardian, page 1:
      It proposes that those held in the prototype Selfridges cells be kept for a maximum of four hours to have their identity confirmed and be charged, summonsed or given a fine.

Etymology 2[edit]

See the etymology of the corresponding lemma form.



  1. third-person singular simple present indicative of summon

Further reading[edit]