A summons is a request or order for someone to show up, especially for legal matters. You could get a summons to testify at a trial, for example.

When you summon someone, you're requesting the person to join you, essentially saying, "Come here!" Similarly, a summons asks for someone to appear. This could be a friendly request or invitation, like a summons to join some friends for a road trip, but the most common type of summons is official and legally binding. If you receive a summons to appear in court, you have to show up. Ignoring that kind of summons is a crime.

Definitions of summons
  1. noun
    a request to be present
    synonyms: bidding
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    type of:
    a request (spoken or written) to participate or be present or take part in something
  2. noun
    a writ issued by authority of law; usually compels the defendant's attendance in a civil suit; failure to appear results in a default judgment against the defendant
    synonyms: process
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    show 5 types...
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    a summons that commands the appearance of a party at a proceeding
    monition, process of monition
    a summons issued after the filing of a libel or claim directing all parties concerned to show cause why the judgment asked for should not be granted
    a summons issued to an offender (especially to someone who violates a traffic regulation)
    speeding ticket
    a ticket issued for driving above the speed limit
    parking ticket
    a ticket issued for parking in a restricted place
    type of:
    judicial writ, writ
    (law) a legal document issued by a court or judicial officer
  3. noun
    an order to appear in person at a given place and time
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    call up
    an order to report for military duty
    type of:
    (often plural) a command given by a superior (e.g., a military or law enforcement officer) that must be obeyed
  4. verb
    call in an official matter, such as to attend court
    synonyms: cite, summon
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    summon (a vouchee) into court to warrant or defend a title
    summon to court
    type of:
    call, send for
    order, request, or command to come
Word Family

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