churn

noun
\ ˈchərn How to pronounce churn (audio) \
plural churns

Definition of churn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a container in which cream is stirred or shaken to make butter
2 : 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

churn

verb
churned; churning; churns

Definition of churn (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to agitate (milk or cream) in a churn in order to make butter The farmer churns his cream every day.
2a : to stir or agitate violently an old stern-wheeler churning the muddy river larger particles pound and churn the Moon's surface— E. M. Shoemaker
b : to make (something, such as foam) by so doing
3 : to make (the account of a client) excessively active by frequent purchases and sales primarily in order to generate commissions unscrupulous brokers may churn an account, trading frequently to generate high commissions— Mary Rowland

intransitive verb

1 : to work a churn (as in making butter)
2a : to produce, proceed with, or experience violent motion or agitation her stomach was churning churning legs
b : to proceed by or as if by means of rotating members (such as wheels or propellers) boats churning across the harbor

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Synonyms for churn

Synonyms: Verb

boil, moil, roil, seethe

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Examples of churn in a Sentence

Verb

The motorboats churned the water. The water churned all around us. The wheels began to slowly churn. He showed them how to churn butter.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But there are challenges to subscriptions, mainly the high churn rate. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Lyft’s monthly subscription plan is now available nationwide," 16 Oct. 2018 Il Sogno and Lüke are gone now, lost in the churn of a restaurant scene in full surge, a scene that brought me here two years ago as the new restaurant critic for the San Antonio Express-News. Mike Sutter, WSJ, "The Best Under-the-Radar Food Destination in the U.S.," 19 Oct. 2018 Amid neat rows of orchards, on cattle ranches and dairy farms across the southern territory of California’s San Joaquin Valley, the churn of daily life offers few hints of an imminent political spectacle. New York Times, "In California’s Farm Country, the Tide of ‘Resistance’ Runs Dry Ahead of the Primary," 29 May 2018 In the violent electric churn of the atmosphere, satellites were useless for signaling our brethren. Smith Henderson, Popular Mechanics, "Olympia," 20 Nov. 2017 The reason for the staff churn, of course, is that Trump is increasingly refusing to listen to anyone outside his own instincts. Dara Lind, Vox, "There is always a Trump tweet, chiefs of staff edition," 8 Dec. 2018 The churn in Kansas politics has helped create what experts rate to be two competitive House races in the November general election, which is drawing national Democratic attention. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "Kansas Gubernatorial Race Splits GOP," 29 July 2018 Her Twitter account is a steady churn of support and mutual admiration for like-minded liberals, salted with signal boosts of stories about the Flint water crisis, the Israel-Palestine conflict, police brutality, immigration. Celeste Katz, Glamour, "Rashida Tlaib Isn’t Waiting to Get to Congress to Help Other Women," 20 Sep. 2018 Reducing that churn has become harder as the unemployment rate has dropped and several cities have raised the minimum wage. Patricia Cohen, New York Times, "Where Companies Welcome Refugees, the More, the Better," 1 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The birth and life of tropical cyclones in a flowing, churning atmosphere is amazingly complex. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "What pushed 2017’s Atlantic hurricane season into overdrive?," 28 Sep. 2018 The goal remains the same but the roster is constantly churning and evaluations are always taking place. Brad Biggs, chicagotribune.com, "Bears Q&A: Why did the Bears match the Kyle Fuller offer right away? Why is Jerrell Freeman still on the roster?," 21 Mar. 2018 Other currencies, especially Ethereum, have been catching up to Bitcoin's $140 billion market cap, adding further uncertainty and churn. Ben Popken /, NBC News, "Bitcoin loses more than half its value amid crypto crash," 2 Feb. 2018 For some susceptible people, this means that large portions of such foods will spend a prolonged time being churned around in the stomach, provoking acid indigestion and upper stomach bloating. SELF, "Why This Registered Dietitian Tells (Some of) Her Patients to Avoid Kale Salads," 30 Nov. 2018 Some were passed their children, some were passed their flag — both ended up draped around the players, as a checkerboard sea churned in the stands of the Luzhniki Stadium. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams," 12 July 2018 The book offers a glimpse into the maelstrom churning in the mind of Amanda Stern, who shares in-depth recollections of her childhood. Zlati Meyer, USA TODAY, "'Little Panic': How the Etan Patz kidnapping terrorized author Amanda Stern," 10 July 2018 Though a relationship was never confirmed, people often speculated that the two stars were dating; they were first linked in 2013 and the rumor mill churned on and off in the years that followed. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "This Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles Throwback Photo Is Making Me Feel Things," 29 June 2018 The 29-year-old has been tasked with resurrecting Uganda’s program, moonlighting as the national team's head coach while churning hours in Dallas as part of the Mavericks’ video team. Jake Fischer, SI.com, "George Galanopoulos's Unlikely Journey From Basketball Dreamer to Uganda Head Coach," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'churn.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of churn

Noun

before the 12th century , in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for churn

Noun

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

Verb

Middle English chyrnen, derivative of chirne, cherne churn entry 1

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Statistics for churn

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for churn

The first known use of churn was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for churn

churn

noun

English Language Learners Definition of churn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a container in which cream is stirred or shaken to make butter

churn

verb

English Language Learners Definition of churn (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stir or mix something (such as water or mud) with force
: to move in a circle
: to make (butter) by stirring or shaking cream in a churn

churn

noun
\ ˈchərn How to pronounce churn (audio) \

Kids Definition of churn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a container in which milk or cream is stirred or shaken in making butter

churn

verb
churned; churning

Kids Definition of churn (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to stir or shake in a churn (as in making butter)
2 : to stir or shake forcefully The boat's motor churned up the mucky water.
3 : to feel the effects of an emotion (as fear) My stomach churned as I stood on the stage.
4 : to move by or as if by forceful stirring action Steamboats churned up and down the river.
\ ˈchərn\

Legal Definition of churn

: to make (the account of a client) excessively active by frequent purchases and sales primarily in order to generate commissions

Note: Churning is a violation of federal securities laws.

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More from Merriam-Webster on churn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with churn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for churn

Spanish Central: Translation of churn

Nglish: Translation of churn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of churn for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about churn

Comments on churn

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