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

So, how is Meghan handling the constant churn of the rumor mill? Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Here's How Meghan Markle Is Handling the Latest Round of Royal Drama," 1 Dec. 2018 If people are moving to better jobs, labor-market churn can be a healthy sign. Andrew Van Dam, chicagotribune.com, "Is it great to be a worker in the U.S.? Not compared with the rest of the developed world.," 5 July 2018 If people are moving to better jobs, labor-market churn can be a healthy sign. Andrew Van Dam, latimes.com, "The economy is hot, yet many U.S. workers feel left behind. A new report sheds some light," 5 July 2018 If people are moving to better jobs, labor-market churn can be a healthy sign. Andrew Van Dam, BostonGlobe.com, "Limited unionization and government aid hold back US workers, study says," 4 July 2018 To watch the Rockets' offense churn is to see some of the best basketball players in the world at a loss. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "The Rockets’ Isolation Offense Is an Opponents' Nightmare," 20 Mar. 2018 On Monday evening, a week after Mr. de Blasio’s inauguration, Mr. O’Neill announced plans for deep churn in the top echelons of the Police Department, with more than a dozen promotions, changes that are set to take effect next week. Al Baker, New York Times, "Shake-Up in Hierarchy of the New York Police Department," 9 Jan. 2018 But Hutchinson and his staff could also have been seeking to reduce churn in the program if people are employed for only part of a plan year. Washington Post, "The Health 202: Arkansas decision shows Trump officials eager to make Obamacare more conservative," 6 Mar. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In September, as Hurricane Florence churned toward the Carolina coast Thasos watched evacuation zones and found that in well-to-do census blocks, 65% of the people fled, while only 39% left poor areas. Ryan Dezember, WSJ, "Your Smartphone’s Location Data Is Worth Big Money to Wall Street," 2 Nov. 2018 On Saturday, as waves churned, no swimming was permitted at Maryland’s Assateague State Park, the park said on Twitter. Washington Post, "4 shootings reported in 8 hours Saturday," 9 July 2018 Nearby resident Richard Schott, 34, watched from a police checkpoint as the eruption churned just over a ridgeline and behind some trees. CBS News, "Gas released by volcano eruption poses immediate danger, officials warn," 15 May 2018 As the storm churns north, rain will likely continue in South Florida at least through Wednesday. Jenny Staletovich And Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "Messy Gulf storm could become rare preseason tropical system | Miami Herald," 14 May 2018 Nearby resident Richard Schott, 34, sat near a police checkpoint and watched as the eruption churned just over a ridgeline and behind some trees. Caleb Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Noisy Hawaiian volcano lava fissure prompts more evacuations," 13 May 2018 The company expects churn to continue to trend downward, albeit mitigated somewhat by launches in new markets. Colin Stutz, Billboard, "Spotify Stocks Fall After Q1 Earnings Miss Expectations," 2 May 2018 As a correspondent for the anti-Semitic newspaper Social Justice, Johnson crafted stomach-churning dispatches from World War II-era Poland and Germany. Alex Beam, WSJ, "‘The Man in the Glass House’ Review: Throwing Stones at Philip Johnson," 2 Nov. 2018 Lane churned toward the island chain early this week as the most powerful type of hurricane measured: a Category 5. Fox News, "The Latest: Feds: Tropical Storm Lane still dangerous," 25 Aug. 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

26 Apr 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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