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

The latest standoff is over a demand by Mr. Seehofer that Germany turn back at the border migrants who are already registered elsewhere in the European Union, to ensure security in the country. New York Times, "Germany’s Merkel Seemed to Get a Reprieve Over Migrants. It Didn’t Last.," 1 July 2018 And yet, people continue to turn back to the quick-fixes, with every couple of years ushering in a new take on an old folk tale. Kate Branch, Vogue, "Why Hollywood’s Favorite Diet May Not Be As Effective As You Think," 15 June 2018 Another highlight will be a westward passing of the International Date Line, resulting in the date being turned back by a day. Gene Sloan, USA TODAY, "June route roundup: Where cruise lines are adding sailings," 8 June 2018 Horse racing: Grasshoppin turned back Irish Colonel to win Friday's featured eighth race. baltimoresun.com, "Digest (March 30): Navy's Shawn Anderson named to CLASS All-America team," 30 Mar. 2018 In a frosty statement issued on July 3rd the government in Vienna, where officials bridled at Berlin’s failure to consult them, threatened to impose new controls on its own southern border if the Germans started turning back asylum-seekers. The Economist, "Angela Merkel’s flawed deal on migrants," 5 July 2018 In many ways, the clocks in Europe seem to be turning back to pre-World War II days, to a time when competing nationalist, ethnic, and religious forces held sway. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, "How nationalism fuels anti-immigration front across the West," 25 June 2018 Now, turning back to the passage vote on the 1985 farm bill, the next figure contains both light blue and light red upside-down triangles, which again represent the members who voted against the 1985 bill. John Patty, Vox, "What the farm bill’s failure says about congressional function," 21 May 2018 Forsberg eventually turned back before the top on Cho Oyu, but Jornet reached the broad plateau on May 14. Nick Heil, Outside Online, "Are Kilian Jornet's Speed Records Too Good to Be True?," 12 July 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

24 Oct 2018

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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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playful or foolish behavior

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