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

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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 The funding will primarily be used to help kids return to the classroom. Jack Brewster, Forbes, "Expect All Schools To Be Open ‘Full Time’ By The Fall, Biden Education Secretary Says In Change Of Tone," 6 May 2021 But just to be on F1’s radar is a step in the right direction for those who would love to see the series return after its run from 2000-07 that didn’t end on the best of terms. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "Roger Penske on IMS hosting an F1 race: 'We’re going to need to look at the economics'," 6 May 2021 They were swept out of Wrigley Field and return to Southern California 1-6 after two legs of their three-city, 10-game road trip, which continues in Anaheim on Friday. Los Angeles Times, "Dodgers are stung again in walkoff loss to Cubs in 11 innings," 5 May 2021 Dubois was reporting in Gao in northern Mali and did not return to his hotel after lunch on April 8, Deloire said. Fox News, "French reporter kidnapped by jihadist rebels in north Mali," 5 May 2021 Modest Mouse are set to return after a six-year hiatus with The Golden Casket, due out June 25th via Epic Records. Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone, "Modest Mouse Announce New Album ‘The Golden Casket,’ Drop ‘We Are Between’," 5 May 2021 Do note that the fan favorite coq au vin is planned to return soon after a pandemic pause. Michael Phillips,, "Watch this. Eat that: Need a Mother’s Day treat? Pair ‘An American With Paris’ with tasty crepes," 5 May 2021 The plan would allow employees to return to in-person work in all sectors of the state's economy two weeks after 55% of Michiganders 16 and older (4.45 million people) initiate the COVID-19 vaccination process by getting at least one dose. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "COVID-19 vaccination rates in Michigan: The 5 best counties and the 5 worst," 4 May 2021 As many office workers express a reluctance to return to work after the pandemic, some researchers are pondering why. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Epic Games v Apple starts today. What you need to know," 3 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun After a year of virtual plays, there are finally inklings of a return to flesh-and-blood performance. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, "Summer Theatre Preview," 7 May 2021 With bonds offering a negative rate of return after stripping out inflation, speculative tech and growth have flourished as investors hunt for yield. Katherine Greifeld, Fortune, "Cathie Wood’s Ark fund takes a beating as tech stocks fall," 7 May 2021 Britain has given two-thirds of its adults at least one vaccine dose, raising the prospect of a return to some type of normal life and summer holidays over the coming months. Pan Pylas, Star Tribune, "Super Thursday: Britons vote in a bumper crop of elections," 6 May 2021 As part of a return to normal operations, graduates can sit on the field for University of Georgia spring commencement ceremonies, officials announced Saturday. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Gritty, tick confusion, barbecue’s back: News from around our 50 states," 6 May 2021 But as long as Trump is around, Democrats will be able to raise the specter of a return of the lawlessness and abuses of power of his single term in the service of retaining moderate suburban voters. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Liz Cheney's fall shows that Trump is here to stay," 6 May 2021 This year, the Preakness is back in its traditional time slot in May, two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, a welcome sign of a return to some kind of normalcy. Daniel Oyefusi,, "As Preakness approaches, the real winner could be Pimlico and the surrounding neighborhood. Here’s why," 6 May 2021 Administering more vaccines will be vital to reaching Biden's goal of a return to normalcy, or something close to it, by July 4. Rick Klein, Averi Harper, ABC News, "GOP leaders add own fuel to Trump's fire: The Note," 5 May 2021 For at least the next six months, the possibility of Trump’s return to Facebook will be open. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Facebook’s non-decision on banning Trump does no one any good," 5 May 2021 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

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Return.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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
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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