turn back


Definition of turn back

intransitive verb

1a : to go in the reverse direction
b : to stop going forward
2 : to refer to an earlier time or place

transitive verb

1 : to drive back or away
2 : to stop the advance of
3 : to fold back
turn back the clock
: to revert to or remind of a condition existing in the past

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Examples of turn back in a Sentence

a cavalry charge that was turned back by withering fire

Recent Examples on the Web

In June, Seehofer threatened to turn back migrants previously registered elsewhere unilaterally at the border. Fox News, "The Latest: Poor conditions at Greek migrant camps slammed," 13 Sep. 2018 The Trump Administration is trying to turn back the clock on women’s healthcare and reproductive rights. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Time, "Sen. Warren: Trump’s New Proposal Is Another Attempt by the Government to Control Women’s Bodies," 30 May 2018 If that argument begins to gain purchase with the mass public, sensible Republican judges will hopefully turn back from the brink. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation will delegitimize the Supreme Court — and that’s good," 5 Oct. 2018 Corvette Diner at Liberty Station will turn back the clock with brunch specials like chicken and waffles and breakfast burrito. Carolina Gusman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "117 ways to celebrate mom: Your San Diego guide to Mother's Day brunches, lunches and dinners," 7 May 2018 Fare boxes at Metro transit stations and on buses were deactivated at midnight Saturday and will not be turned back on until Monday, Metro announced. James Queally, latimes.com, "Metro L.A. offering free bus and train rides on Sunday to commemorate Earth Day," 22 Apr. 2018 The series follows two sister ships: the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror—a name that was somehow not enough of a bad omen to make the crew turn back. Scott Meslow, GQ, "The Terror Review: A Nightmarish TV Series You Won't Be Able to Stop Binge-Watching," 26 Mar. 2018 But Jacobs isn’t turning back the hands of time alone. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Psst! Another Iconic Grunge Collection Is Back," 9 Jan. 2019 Cruz turned back O’Rourke with the help of Trump, his bitter rival in 2016. Will Weissert, The Seattle Times, "Cruz fends off O’Rourke in Texas Senate race," 7 Nov. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

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Statistics for turn back

Last Updated

11 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for turn back

The first known use of turn back was in the 15th century

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for turn back

Comments on turn back

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marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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