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
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

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 These issues have prevented CAR-T from being used safely and effectively outside of leukemia and myeloma, and even patients who have responded spectacularly to CAR-T usually see their cancers return. Angus Chen, STAT, 19 Jan. 2022 Dogs are required by law to have a license, which can help to identify them and return them to their owners, if necessary. Carol Kovach, cleveland, 18 Jan. 2022 With the omicron variant, infected people also appear less likely to return positive results during the first day or two of symptoms. Katie Shepherd, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Jan. 2022 As the UConn women’s basketball team turns the page following Monday’s 72-59 road loss to Oregon, one looming question remains: When will Christyn Williams be able to exit COVID-19 protocols and return to the UConn women’s basketball team? Alexa Philippou,, 18 Jan. 2022 Drain, reserving the water, and return the pasta to the pot. Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2022 The company also hasn’t stated whether or not the feature could return on future iPhone models. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 18 Jan. 2022 Taylor will depart the company at the end of the month to return to the helm of her family organization, The Taylor Group, a coaching and leadership training company. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, 18 Jan. 2022 From here, climb the ridge and return via the Blue Trail. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 18 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The return of the talent behind 1993's The Piano, Campion's first feature in 12 years was already cause for celebration. Ew Staff,, 19 Jan. 2022 The 37-year-old safety’s return to the NFL for his first game in two years was a little more subtle. Los Angeles Times, 18 Jan. 2022 The average one-year return has been 18.3%, versus 11.5% for the S&P 500. John Dorfman, Forbes, 18 Jan. 2022 Illinois: The return of Curbelo was a welcome development after missing the team’s last 11 games. Gavin Good,, 17 Jan. 2022 As the theatrical experience was upended by the pandemic, the return of the blockbuster was a welcome event, even if box office totals paled in comparison to pre-pandemic numbers. Tyler Coates, The Hollywood Reporter, 13 Jan. 2022 This year's marathon marks the return to in-person racing after 2021's race was all-virtual. Jay R. Jordan, Chron, 13 Jan. 2022 Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury has confirmed ESPN's Tuesday report from Jeremy Fowler that J.J. Watt's imminent return to a full team practice could be as early as Thursday. Dana Scott, The Arizona Republic, 13 Jan. 2022 The return of Damian Lillard this season is in doubt. oregonlive, 13 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Crew-2 astronauts, fielding questions from reporters Friday during an orbital pre-return news conference. William Harwood, CBS News, 6 Nov. 2021 Any Jacobs: Age: Not listed on his website, and Jacobs did not return questions sent by IndyStar. Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star, 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, 28 May 2020 Hertz and Avis Budget Group did not return requests seeking answers to specific questions about their operations. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, 24 May 2020 Response: Exterran did not return requests seeking comment. Desperation Town, ProPublica, 12 May 2020 The alert recommends that visitors from out of state return home immediately. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, 21 Mar. 2020 Luther’s two ex-husbands did not return interview requests. Cassandra Jaramillo, Dallas News, 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, 17 Apr. 2020

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

20 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Return.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for return



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 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


transitive verb

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)

More from Merriam-Webster on return

Nglish: Translation of return for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of return for Arabic Speakers


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