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 Rey’s Palpatine connection continues Star Wars’ frustrating pattern of returning to the same stories instead of crafting new ones. Devan Coggan,, "Rise of Skywalker's Rey reveal undoes one of Star Wars' boldest choices: Opinion," 21 Dec. 2019 Love even posted something on Twitter shortly after returning to the locker room. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Kevin Love reacts to Ja Morant’s audacious poster attempt: ‘Ja almost ended my professional career’," 20 Dec. 2019 The San Francisco Superior Court jury deliberated for three days before returning guilty verdicts Thursday against Jose Mejia-Carrillo, 24, and 25-year-old Alexis Cruz-Zepeda in the March 17 killing of George Martinez. Evan Sernoffsky,, "MS-13 gang members found guilty of executing father in SF’s Mission District," 20 Dec. 2019 But after returning to Washington, Trump continued to press the Ukraine theory with more frequency, former officials said. Anchorage Daily News, "Former White House officials say they feared Putin influenced the president’s views on Ukraine, 2016 campaign," 20 Dec. 2019 When the show returned for its second season in March, expectations were high; yet Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s writing and performance somehow exceeded them. The Economist, "The best television shows of the year, as chosen by The Economist," 20 Dec. 2019 Velcro shoes were popular in the 1980s, but since then most people have returned to old-fashioned shoelaces—and their major annoyance: always becoming untied. David Grimm, Science | AAAS, "Our favorite science news stories of the decade," 20 Dec. 2019 Cowboys at Eagles: Key injuries Cowboys: LT Tyron Smith (eye), LB Sean Lee (pectoral/thigh) and Michael Bennett (foot) returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday. Marcus Mosher, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles odds, picks and best bets," 20 Dec. 2019 Jurors deliberated for two days after a seven-day trial before returning with a guilty verdict of first-degree murder. Kieran Nicholson, The Denver Post, "Man, 33, sentenced to life for murder of girlfriend in Wheat Ridge," 19 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun While Jones set a high standard on the field with the Cowboys, a lack of interceptions over his career in Dallas was a key factor in the team being willing to part ways with the corner rather than pay top dollar for his return. Joey Hayden, Dallas News, "Ex-Cowboys CB Byron Jones reveals why he chose to sign with Dolphins," 27 Mar. 2020 Rosen repped Kenny Chesney in a stadium tour, Kacey Musgraves in an Amazon Christmas special, Brad Paisley for his ABC variety show Brad Paisley Thinks He’s Special and Reba McEntire in her return to Universal Music. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "From Lizzo's Lawyers to BTS Esq.: Meet the Top Music Attorneys of 2020," 27 Mar. 2020 The return trip itself had been a harrowing all-night odyssey, with busloads of the passengers stuck for hours in Marseille, France, before boarding the flight to Atlanta. Frances Robles, New York Times, "‘Scarier Than the Cruise’: Evacuated Americans Describe Chaos, Fears on Journey Home," 20 Mar. 2020 The cruise was intended to be a two-week voyage from San Francisco to Hawaii, but was stopped on its return trip Wednesday when officials learned that a California man who'd traveled on the ship last month contracted coronavirus and died. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "Grand Princess cruise ship with at least 21 confirmed coronavirus cases will dock at California port today," 9 Mar. 2020 Chris JacksonGetty Images This isn't the first time during their return trip to the U.K. that Markle and Harry have made headlines for their matching looks. Neha Prakash, Marie Claire, "Harry Supported Meghan at Commonwealth Day With a Subtle Fashion Detail," 9 Mar. 2020 There was little Life Waxahachie could do to keep the Lions from earning a return trip to the state tournament. Richard Dean, Houston Chronicle, "Yates topples Life Waxahachie to advance to state tournament," 7 Mar. 2020 There's a blueprint in the FC Cincinnati locker room for how to make a successful return trip to Atlanta. Pat Brennan,, "FC Cincinnati: Brandon Vazquez bracing for his return to Atlanta United, Mercedes-Benz Stadium," 5 Mar. 2020 The company wants to 3D print a rocket on Mars for the return trip to Earth. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Relativity Space has big dreams. Is the company for real?," 3 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective 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 Attorneys for that case did not return requests seeking comment. Jonathan Romeo, The Denver Post, "Lawsuit against railroad over wildfire should proceed, judge rules," 31 Dec. 2019 Bo Scarbrough started at running back for the Lions, and J.D. McKissic, Ty Johnson and even return man Jamal Agnew made appearances on offense before Kerryon Johnson got on the field. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions' Kerryon Johnson celebrates being back on the field again, knee brace and all," 23 Dec. 2019 Small rain chances return Thursday night into Friday, but temperatures will rise to the mid-60s by the weekend coupled with another few sunny, rain-free days. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Cold front pushing through Houston area Monday, showers possible as temps drop," 16 Dec. 2019 Wallace and his parents did not return numerous phone, email and social media messages. Kenny Jacoby, USA Today, "A football star was expelled for rape twice. A secret deal scrubbed it from his transcript," 12 Dec. 2019 Agnew returned to practice this week after a two-game absence, and could handle return duties Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, "How Chris Lacy won Lions' return job despite never returning kicks in his life," 5 Dec. 2019 Two other close relatives did not return messages regarding this story. oregonlive, "Missing Medford toddler was deemed safe by DHS weeks after he vanished, report says," 4 Dec. 2019 Kasten and Dodgers spokesman Steve Brener did not return messages Wednesday. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, "Dodgers sell minority share of team," 18 Sep. 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

12 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Return.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Apr. 2020.

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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


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

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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
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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More from Merriam-Webster on return

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for return

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with return

Spanish Central: Translation of return

Nglish: Translation of return for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of return for Arabic Speakers

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