: a container in which cream is stirred or shaken to make butter
: a regular, quantifiable process or rate of change that occurs in a business over a period of time as existing customers are lost and new customers are added
The biggest problem they face is churn. Wireless providers lose an average of about 30% of their customers a year to competitors.—Brian O'Reilly
also: a similar process or rate of change involving loss and addition of employees, companies, etc.
The resulting employment churn—the average job tenure is now two years, and today's typical 32-year-old has held nine different jobs—means more risks as well as more opportunities to discover new paths. —Jamais Cascio
The motorboats churned the water.
The water churned all around us.
The wheels began to slowly churn.
He showed them how to churn butter.
Recent Examples on the Web
Official’s talent identification program comes at a time of notable churn in the residential real estate industry.—Degen Pener, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Aug. 2023 Iger said the company didn’t see significant churn or subscription losses after raising prices.—Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY, 9 Aug. 2023 Iowa State — Is the constant churn of conference realignment a positive for college football?—Kevin Reynolds, The Salt Lake Tribune, 27 July 2023 Since then the roster has been in severe churn, first through a trade for Anthony Davis and later in an attempt to create another maximum-salary slot.—Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2023 The loss of key sports rights in the region also set the stage for significant churn on the Hotstar front.—Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 9 Aug. 2023 He’s credited for strict cost discipline as well as bringing stability and predictability to a key corporate function previously accused of excessive management churn.—Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 8 Aug. 2023 Brittani Navarro, who has worked for several assisted living or nursing home companies, said the constant churn of new employees means residents never feel comfortable.—Sahana Jayaraman, AZCentral.com, 27 June 2023 Reducing churn — how many people cancel a service every month — has taken on increasing importance as price hikes have rolled out across streaming (including the big ones announced Wednesday by Disney+ and Hulu).—Vulture, 11 Aug. 2023
Night life is a churning economy, only partially visible to most people, a system behind a veil.—Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 18 Sep. 2023 As Hurricane Lee churned closer to coastal New England on Friday, with winds expected to intensify overnight, cruise ships sought refuge in Portland, Maine, and homeowners in Provincetown, Massachusetts, piled sandbags.—Jenna Russell, BostonGlobe.com, 16 Sep. 2023 As Hurricane Lee churned closer to coastal New England on Friday, with winds expected to intensify overnight, cruise ships sought refuge in Portland, Maine, and homeowners in Provincetown, Mass., piled sandbags.—Colleen Cronin, New York Times, 15 Sep. 2023 Lee’s core was about 185 miles west of Bermuda as of Thursday night and was churning with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph – a Category 1 hurricane – according to the hurricane center.—Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN, 14 Sep. 2023 Even those who made it to the river weren’t safe: Livestock in the river struggled in terror, churning the water around people who often didn’t know how to swim.—Elisa Neckar, Discover Magazine, 13 Sep. 2023 Others tried to drive their cars out, churning the mud and getting stuck.—Alden Wicker, WIRED, 7 Sep. 2023 Hurricane Lee, now churning in the Atlantic, is forecast to quickly intensify to an extremely dangerous major hurricane.—Max Golembo, ABC News, 6 Sep. 2023 The massive storm, which remained a Category 2 hurricane Wednesday evening, was churning about 370 miles south-southwest of Bermuda, according to an 8 p.m. update from the hurricane center.—Christina Maxouris, CNN, 13 Sep. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'churn.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle English chirne, cherne, going back to Old English cirm (erroneously for cirin or cirn), cyrin, going back to Germanic *kernō, kernōn (whence also Middle Dutch keerne, kerne "butter churn," Middle Low German kerne, karne, kirne, Old Norse kirna —in kirnuaskr "churn pail"), of uncertain origin
Middle English chyrnen, derivative of chirne, chernechurn entry 1
First Known Use
before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1