Yet Another Regionalism Thread: calling "off" from work

If I get up in the morning, and I’m sick, or I’ve simply lost the will to go on, I will “call in sick”. I would expect my supervisor to then announce to my crestfallen coworkers, “Bayard called in sick”. I grew up in Missouri.

Here in the Cincinnati area, however, people “call off”. Not “call off sick”, just “call off”. People say, “Jane called off”. I can’t recall anyone around here ever saying, “Jane called in sick this morning”.

So, I did a quick google for “call off” + “sick” (so I wouldn’t get stuff about calling off a plan or an attack or something), and several of the hits on the first page had connections to Ohio – a band from Columbus, something about the Cleveland Browns, and so on.

So, is “calling off” an Ohio thing? And, more generally, what is the phrase in your location when you want to inform your boss that you’re not going to show up?

I’m a recovering Hoosier in North Carolina, so I “call in sick”; most people in the office “call in”.

That said, when I need to not show up for a shift at the Rescue Squad, I “mark off”. The distinction there is that scheduling is done via a physical calendar on a bulletin board, whereas the day job is regularly scheduled desk driving.

Here in PA, I hear both.

I’ve heard “call in sick”, “call out sick” and “call off sick” in that order of frequency. Middle Tennessee.

Here in New Jersey where I’ve always “called out”. I do occassionally here “call in”, but certainly never “call off”.

Florida–call in, or call in sick.


I grew up in TN, but I use “call off,” “call out,” and “call in” interchangeably. Calling <to be> off work, calling <to let them know I will be> out, and calling <to tell them I won’t be> in all make sense to me.

Call in sick. Or called and won’t be in. California.

Actually, we sometimes have spates of: called and might be in later if things improve. Mostly things never improve, at least not enough to come in. But it shows willing.

We say: “Called off dead.”

Yup, it’s an Ohio thing. When I lived there it was one of the (many) things that bugged the crap outta me: it’s “called in sick” not “called off sick!” :smiley:

Here in NJ I’ve been teased for adding the definite article to highway names, ex:
“Take the I-95.” Here it is: “Take I-95.” Apparently, Jersyians use the missing article to talk about “down the shore.”

The secretaries at work bust a gut laughing when I asked for some elastics (rubber bands, I guess).

Philadelphia/South Jersey: you call out. *“Billed called out today” * (‘sick’ is not needed in the sentence)

Southern Cal: you call in sick. “Nancy called in sick”.

India: You call in sick, too. “Raj called in sick”.

dupe deleted

I’m from Ohio and always call in sick or call off.

Down here in the Deep South, people call in because they’re gonna “lay out” today. :dubious:

I, being from New Jersey, say “Call out”

Around here I hear “Call in sick.” My boss, who’s from DC, says “Out sick” (So and so is out sick)

My Texan husband says “Call off”

(He also says “Put up” for “put away”)

I’ve only heard and used “called in sick.” If someone told me Jane called off, I wonder what the hell they were talking about. Called off what? The dogs?

“Lay out” to me means (if you’re not talking about a corpse) that they are going to go lay in the sun. I suspect that isn’t what they mean.

I must say here, this regional thing about “needs washed” really bugs me. It needs TO BE washed. You can’t just leave words out for the heck of it!

We should have a term for when people call in and say they won’t be in because of the snowstorm, but we don’t. We just say Jane called in and said she won’t be in because of the snowstorm. :slight_smile:

In Autralia, they call off sick, which irritates me, cause I call in.


Interesting responses. I was all set to declare it an Ohio/Mid South thing (thanks to the reply from TN), until the Texan and Australian showed up.

The use of “call out” in NJ and PA is interesting too. When I lived in New York City, I think people said “call in”, but I don’t really remember anymore.

In the UK, you call in sick, and the rest of the office then refers to you as “off sick”.

News to this Australian, who has been calling in sick all his life. I have NEVER heard “calling off sick”.
Though, of course, it’s usually just “pulling a sickie”.