Posted by Gary on June 03, 2004
In Reply to: To be at their beck and call (meaning and origin) posted by Paddy on June 03, 2004
: does it indicate to please them or being at their command or disposal as they please?
The latter. It's funny how some phrases just sound Shakespearian. This one almost is as he uses beck as an alternative to beckon numerous times. There's no 'beck and call' in Shakespeare though. That appears to be much later - 19th century.
Beck came into English in the 14th century.
See also - the meaning and origin of 'Beck and call'.