1580s, "call back from a distance, to bring back by calling upon," from re- "back, again, to a former state" + call (v.); in some cases a loan-translation of French rappeler (see repeal (v.)) or Latin revocare "to rescind, call back" (see revoke).
A Latin-Germanic hybrid. The meaning "to revoke, take back, countermand" is by 1580s. The sense of "bring back to memory, call back to the mind or perception" is attested from 1610s. Related: Recalled; recalling.
1610s, "a calling back, a summons to return;" 1650s, "a calling back to the mind," from recall (v.). In U.S. politics, "removal of an elected official," 1902.