re·​turn | \ ri-ˈtərn How to pronounce return (audio) \
returned; returning; returns

Definition of return

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : to go back or come back again return home
b : to go back in thought, practice, or condition : revert
2 : to pass back to an earlier possessor

transitive verb

1a : to give (something, such as an official account) to a superior
b British : to elect (a candidate) as attested by official report or returns
c : to bring back (something, such as a writ or verdict) to an office or tribunal
2a : to bring, send, or put back to a former or proper place
b : to restore to a former or to a normal state
3a : to send back : visit usually used with on or upon
b obsolete : retort
4 : to bring in (profit) : yield
5a : to give or perform in return : repay return a compliment also : to respond to in kind returned his calls
b : to give back to the owner
c : reflect return an echo
6 : to cause (something, such as a wall) to continue in a different direction (as at a right angle)
7 : to lead (a specified suit or specified card of a suit) in response to a partner's earlier lead
8a : to hit back (a ball or shuttlecock)
b : to run with (a football) after a change of possession (as by a punt or a fumble)



Definition of return (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : the act of coming back to or from a place or condition
b : a regular or frequent returning : recurrence
2a(1) : the delivery of a legal order (such as a writ) to the proper officer or court
(2) : an endorsed certificate stating an official's action in the execution of such an order
(3) : the sending back of a commission with the certificate of the commissioners
b : an account or formal report
c(1) : a report of the results of balloting usually used in pluralelection returns
(2) : an official declaration of the election of a candidate
(3) chiefly British : election
d(1) : a formal statement on a required legal form showing taxable income, allowable deductions and exemptions, and the computation of the tax due
(2) : a list of taxable property
3a : the continuation usually at a right angle of the face or of a member of a building or of a molding or group of moldings
b : a means for conveying something (such as water) back to its starting point
4a : a quantity of goods, consignment, or cargo coming back in exchange for goods sent out as a mercantile venture
b : the value of or profit from such venture
c(1) : the profit from labor, investment, or business : yield
(2) returns plural : results
d : the rate of profit in a process of production per unit of cost
5a : the act of returning something to a former place, condition, or ownership : restitution the return of stolen goods
b : something returned especially returns plural : unsold publications returned to the publisher for cash or credit
6a : something given in repayment or reciprocation a return on their years of hard work
7 : an answering play: such as
a : a lead in a suit previously led by one's partner in a card game
b : the action or an instance of returning a ball (as in football or tennis)
8 chiefly British : round-trip
in return
: in reciprocation, compensation, or repayment



Definition of return (Entry 3 of 3)

1a : having or formed by a change of direction a return facade
b : doubled on itself a return flue
2a : played, delivered, or given in return return fire from the enemy
b : taking place for the second time a return meeting for the two champions
3 : used or taken on returning the return road
4 : returning or permitting return a return valve
5 : of, relating to, or causing a return to a place or condition use the prestamped return envelope

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Other Words from return


returner noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for return

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for return


reciprocate, retaliate, requite, return mean to give back usually in kind or in quantity. reciprocate implies a mutual or equivalent exchange or a paying back of what one has received. reciprocated their hospitality by inviting them for a visit retaliate usually implies a paying back of injury in exact kind, often vengefully. the enemy retaliated by executing their prisoners requite implies a paying back according to one's preference and often not equivalently. requited her love with cold indifference return implies a paying or giving back. returned their call return good for evil

Examples of return in a Sentence

Verb We waited for you to return. She is returning home tomorrow. I'm leaving but will return at 2 p.m. I have to return a book to the library. I'm returning your ladder. Thanks for letting me borrow it. The dishes were broken when they were delivered, so I had to return them. I had to return the shirt and get a bigger size. His jealousy returned when he saw his ex-wife with her new husband. Noun We are looking forward to your return. We're looking forward to our return to Europe. The team looked forward to his return to coaching. a return to the old ways of farming the department's return to normal The people celebrated their leader's return to power.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Acosta, who served as President Donald Trump’s labor secretary from April 2017 to July 2019, didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment. Patricia Hurtado,, "DOJ Scolds Ex-Prosecutor’s ‘Poor Judgment’ in Epstein Deal," 12 Nov. 2020 Smith did not return against the Lions after his second touchdown catch in the third quarter. Andrew Krammer, Star Tribune, "Cornerback Cameron Dantzler returns to practice for the Vikings," 12 Nov. 2020 Swart declined to comment for this story, and Ezgar did not return phone calls or text messages. Rachel Swan,, "S.F. District Attorney Chesa Boudin dismissed charges against cops in infamous alley beating," 12 Nov. 2020 Yang's attorney, Patrick Coffey, did not return calls for comment. Cary Spivak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin regulators charge two men with collecting $2.8 million in 'Ponzi-like' operation," 11 Nov. 2020 Hankison did not immediately return a phone call requesting comment Tuesday evening. Doha Madani, NBC News, "Former Louisville officer Brett Hankison sued over sexual assault allegation," 11 Nov. 2020 Langshaw didn’t return emails asking him to substantiate those comments. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, "North Royalton voters overwhelmingly reject charter amendment that would have reorganized safety forces, but approve other changes," 10 Nov. 2020 The Election Wizard did not return USA TODAY's request for comment. Ashley Nerbovig, USA TODAY, "Fact check: Videos showing crowd locked out of Detroit TCF Center with windows obstructed are missing context," 10 Nov. 2020 Four Seasons Total Landscaping did not return a Fox News request for comment. Jeanette Settembre, Fox News, "Four Seasons Total Landscaping selling 'make America rake again' merchandise after Trump team press conference," 10 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Delayed and diminished, familiar and yet strange, college basketball made a muted return Wednesday afternoon to the KFC Yum Center. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Inside the Yum Center, college basketball makes a muted return — but thank God it's back!," 26 Nov. 2020 Lawrence's return was delayed one week after Saturday's game against Florida State was postponed due to COVID-19. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Ranking the best QBs in college football through Week 12 of the 2020 season: Kyle Trask eyes SEC records," 25 Nov. 2020 Auburn’s Walter McFadden had a 100-yard interception return against Northwestern in the Outback Bowl to cap the 2009 season. Mark Inabinett |, al, "SEC Football by the Numbers: Top 10 from Week 9," 25 Nov. 2020 Only kicker Jonathan Doerer among them to this point has expressed an interest in strongly considering a return. Eric Hansen, The Indianapolis Star, "Notre Dame football: Bye week was hardly uneventful for No. 2 Irish," 24 Nov. 2020 Medtronic has sponsored seminars to make sure the return to these procedures come with protocols that encourage best practices and safety, Martha said. Jim Spencer, Star Tribune, "Medtronic CEO says hospitals able to handle elective surgeries even with COVID-19 surge," 24 Nov. 2020 But Poeltl’s return highlighted the day — and might end up being the apex of an overall quiet free agency period for the Spurs. Jeff Mcdonald,, "For Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl, San Antonio is home," 24 Nov. 2020 That’s bested the S&P 500 by more than 60 percentage points and is double the return on hedge-fund favorites. Katherine Greifeld,, "For Retail Stock Traders, This Is a Party They Can’t See Ending," 24 Nov. 2020 Campbell Ewald had designed for its clients were actually delivering a return on investment. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "Sometimes the simplest uses of A.I. are the best," 24 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Any Jacobs: Age: Not listed on his website, and Jacobs did not return questions sent by IndyStar. Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana 5th District: Christina Hale enters election week with 'incredible advantage'," 31 May 2020 Officials at Oakdale and the federal Bureau of Prisons headquarters in Washington, D.C., did not return messages Wednesday. M.l. Elrick, Detroit Free Press, "Kilpatrick allies vow to continue working to free former mayor, allege conspiracy," 28 May 2020 Hertz and Avis Budget Group did not return requests seeking answers to specific questions about their operations. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "Want to buy a used car? Rental car companies are offering up some good deals," 24 May 2020 Response: Exterran did not return requests seeking comment. Desperation Town, ProPublica, "These Companies Got Millions in Tax Breaks to Bring Jobs to Youngstown. They Created Next to None.," 12 May 2020 The alert recommends that visitors from out of state return home immediately. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "State strongly advises Alaskans to cease all nonessential travel over coronavirus," 21 Mar. 2020 Luther’s two ex-husbands did not return interview requests. Cassandra Jaramillo, Dallas News, "Meet the Dallas salon owner whose decision to reopen put her in the middle of a national debate," 6 May 2020 An Alaska spokeswoman did not return questions in time for this story about the company’s ongoing near-term North Slope development projects such as Greater Mooses Tooth-2 and Nuna. Elwood Brehmer, Anchorage Daily News, "ConocoPhillips announces $200M more in Alaska cuts," 17 Apr. 2020 The medical examiner's office and the embassy for the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Washington, D.C., did not return messages Thursday. CBS News, "Woman dies soon after entering U.S. Customs custody at Texas border," 27 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'return.' 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 return


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1676, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for return


Middle English, from Anglo-French returner, from re- + turner, tourner to turn — more at turn

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Time Traveler for return

Time Traveler

The first known use of return was in the 14th century

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Statistics for return

Last Updated

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Return.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for return


How to pronounce return (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of return

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to come or go to a place again : to come back or go back again
: to bring, give, send, or take (something) to the place that it came from or the place where it should go
: to bring or send (something that you bought) to the place that it came from because it does not work or fit properly, because it is damaged, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of return (Entry 2 of 3)

: the act of coming or going back to the place you started from or to a place where you were before
: the act of going back to an activity, job, situation, etc. : the act of starting to do something again after stopping
: the fact that something (such as a condition, feeling, or situation) happens again



English Language Learners Definition of return (Entry 3 of 3)

: used in or taken for returning to a place
: happening or done for the second time
chiefly British : used or paying for a trip that takes you to a place and back to the place you started from


re·​turn | \ ri-ˈtərn How to pronounce return (audio) \
returned; returning

Kids Definition of return

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to come or go back again Birds return each spring.
2 : to bring, give, send, or put back Have you returned your library book?
3 : repay sense 1 She never returned the borrowed money.
4 : to respond in the same way I returned the compliment.
5 : to make an official report of The jury returned a verdict.
6 : yield entry 1 sense 4, produce The investment returned a profit.



Kids Definition of return (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : the act of coming or going back to a place or condition They await his return home. She hoped for a return to normal.
2 : recurrence the return of spring
3 : the act of returning something (as to a former condition or owner) He thanked me for the return of his wallet.
4 : something given in payment or exchange She asked nothing in return.
5 : a report of the results of voting election returns
6 : a statement of income to be taxed
7 : the profit from labor, investment, or business



Kids Definition of return (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : happening or done for the second time a return visit
2 : used for returning a return ticket

Legal Definition of return

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : to give (an official account or report) to a superior (as by a list or statement) return the names of all residents in the ward return a list of jurors
b : to bring back (as a writ, verdict, or indictment) to an office or tribunal the sheriff must return the execution…to the proper clerk within sixty days— J. H. Friedenthal et al. the grand jury returned six indictments returned a verdict of not guilty
2 : to bring in or produce (as earnings or profit) : yield

Other Words from return

returnable adjective



Legal Definition of return (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the delivery of a court order (as a writ) to the proper officer or court
3 : an account or formal report (as of an action performed or duty discharged or of facts and statistics) census returns especially : a set of tabulated statistics prepared for general information usually used in pl.
4a : a report of the results of balloting election returns
b : an official declaration of the election of a candidate each house shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own membersU.S. Constitution art. I
5 : a formal document executed in accordance with law on a required form showing taxable income, allowable deductions and exemptions, and the computation of the tax due

called also tax return

6 : the profit from labor, investment, or business : yield
7 : something returned specifically : a paper (as a check or draft) calling for payment that is returned by a bank to the clearinghouse because of a defect (as lack of funds or insufficient endorsement)

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