re·​turn | \ri-ˈtərn \
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

3 : reply, retort

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 plural election 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

b : answer, retort

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

answer, come back, rejoin, reply, respond, retort, riposte

Synonyms: Noun

answer, comeback, rejoinder, replication, reply, response, retort

Antonyms: Verb

ask, inquire, question

Antonyms: Noun

inquiry, query, question

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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


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.


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

USA Today adds that that score was her highest since returning to competition after a year layoff. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Simone Biles Just Dominated the World Championship Qualifiers—After a Trip to the ER," 27 Oct. 2018 And later in the week, William will visit 1st Battalion the Irish Guards Battlegroup who are training in Kenya, before returning to the U.K. and his three adoring children. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Why Kate Middleton Is Particularly Jealous of Prince William's Trip to Namibia," 25 Sep. 2018 Camilla went on to graduate at 16 years old and attended both Mon Fertile School in Switzerland and Institut Britannique in Paris before returning to London to work. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "What Camilla Parker Bowles Was Really Like Before She Became a Duchess," 1 Aug. 2018 That’s when a college player has leverage — the threat of returning to school for a senior season — if he is drafted. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "Tigers outfield prospect Brock Deatherage a 'Kirk Gibson guy'," 13 July 2018 Abby Lee Miller is not letting her cancer diagnosis get in the way of returning to Dance Moms. Christina Dugan,, "Abby Lee Miller Involved with Possible 8th Season of Dance Moms amid Cancer Battle," 12 July 2018 When Britton first returned in mid-June, the results weren’t good. Eduardo A. Encina,, "As Orioles work to trade closer Zach Britton, he's showing suitors he's only getting better," 14 July 2018 Amrabat returned to action too soon according to medical guidelines. Steven Goff,, "FIFA president: World Cup could expand to 48 teams in 2022, ahead of schedule," 13 July 2018 Amrabat returned to action too soon according to medical guidelines. Steven Goff, Houston Chronicle, "FIFA president: World Cup could expand to 48 teams in 2022, ahead of schedule," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As Vox’s Tara Golshan wrote, Democratic returns on election night were diminished in part because of the firewall Republicans built with partisan gerrymandering in many congressional districts, which made winning extremely difficult. Ella Nilsen, Vox, "Progressive Democrats running in competitive House districts had a bad night on Tuesday," 7 Nov. 2018 Their reinvestment has accounted for the bulk of long-term returns on stocks. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "GE Shows What Happens When Dividend Investing Goes Wrong," 1 Nov. 2018 While Sephora declined to share revenue or production costs for Sephoria (which purely from the looks of it was easily in the millions), the return on investment from these Instagram-ready experiences is well-documented. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "Inside Sephoria: Sephora's Fabulous, Glittery, Two-Day House Party," 22 Oct. 2018 Most of what awaits viewers when the show returns on October 10th has remained a secret. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "The "Riverdale" Parents Episode Will Be Called "The Midnight Club"," 21 Aug. 2018 Though the Blossom patriarch died on the season one finale, actor Barclay Hope made a shocking return on season two — but not as Clifford. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "Here's Everything We Know About "Riverdale" Season 3 So Far!," 23 July 2018 Yet Mr Putin may pay some lip-service to the notion, perhaps agreeing to another vague ceasefire or limits on Iranian forces near the Israeli border, in the hopes of getting Mr Trump to withdraw American troops from Syria’s east and south in return. The Economist, "Vladimir Putin’s hopes for his long-awaited meeting with Donald Trump," 14 July 2018 Orlando has already begun to see real returns on Jonathan Isaac, and Bamba will be afforded similar patience. Jeremy Woo,, "Rookie Report Cards: The Most Noteworthy Summer League Showings," 11 July 2018 Counting On returns Monday, July 30 at 9 p.m. on TLC. Emily Strohm,, "Josiah Duggar Reveals the Advice His Parents Gave Him Before Wedding to Lauren Swanson," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Pepper did not return numerous phone calls and emails seeking comment. Dylan Purcell,, "Can Philadelphia school officials be trusted with millions in state money to clean up lead paint?," 12 July 2018 For a fee that often includes expenses and return travel fare, someone will drive your car to Tucson. Bob Weber,, "Drivers can ship your car cross country," 8 July 2018 Millennium representatives did not return requests seeking comment. Jon Chesto,, "Massport puts Seaport parcel up for grabs again," 29 June 2018 Casspi, Stark and Orbach did not return messages Wednesday. Ryan Lillis, sacbee, "Texts reveal new details about Sacramento's MLS bid and the financiers being courted," 13 June 2018 Brimhall did not return an email request for comment, and a representative of the Show Low School District did not return message about the lawsuit. Ken Alltucker, azcentral, "Lawsuit: Patients claim harm from border weight-loss operations," 27 Apr. 2018 Jondahl did not return interview requests for comment. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "After withdrawing from Grafton School Board race, Jon Scolman comes up a winner," 4 Apr. 2018 Jonathan Paul, chairman for the political committee, did not return voice messages left with phone numbers listed on the committee’s state filings. David Smiley, miamiherald, "Imaginary people are writing to voters, political ads are mailing themselves in Miami | Miami Herald," 30 Mar. 2018 Richard Silva, who is listed in government documents as the primary contact for both SWF and Coastal, did not return numerous phone and email messages left by The Associated Press seeking comment. CBS News, "Questions swirl around company selected to help build border wall," 3 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for return

Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for return

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

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More Definitions for return



Financial Definition of return

What It Is

A tax return is a set of forms that a taxpayer uses to calculate and report taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

How It Works

April 15 is the annual deadline for filing a tax return, though some types of taxpayers must file tax returns quarterly. Most individual taxpayers use one of the IRS's 1040 form in addition to forms that report or calculate taxes owed or paid on special types of income.

In general, a tax return involves calculating gross income, capital gains/losses, deductions, interest payments, distributions, and tax credits.

Why It Matters

Tax returns are the key components of the IRS's tax collection efforts. The IRS recommends that individual taxpayers keep their tax returns for at least seven years.

Source: Investing Answers



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

: used or paying for a trip that takes you to a place and back to the place you started from


re·​turn | \ri-ˈtərn \
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

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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

b : proof of service

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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Comments on return

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by force of circumstances

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