What is the meaning of "take roll"? Is it a common expression?
To "take roll" is short for taking "roll call", which means to call out the name of every person on an attendance list to see if they are present that day. It is most common to "take roll" in a classroom. Another way to say this is to "take attendance". Both expressions are equally common to use and are most commonly used in a school environment, however, they can be used in any situation where someone is reading from a list of names to see who is present. Ex: Before beginning the lesson, the teacher took roll. Ex: Let's take roll before we start the meeting.
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