turn back


turned back; turning back; turns back

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

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

Examples of turn back in a Sentence

a cavalry charge that was turned back by withering fire
Recent Examples on the Web Hernandez was backed by stellar defense from third baseman Brady Ebel and first baseman David Rivera to turn back the Lancers, who inflicted one of the two losses on the Panthers this season. Eric Sondheimer, Los Angeles Times, 14 Apr. 2024 The pro-Palestinian conference at which Abu Sitta was due to speak was broken up by police shortly after he was turned back at immigration. Loveday Morris, Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2024 Cyprus, which helped provide the sea route bringing aid to Gaza, said ships that recently arrived were turning back with more than 200 tons of undelivered aid, the Associated Press reported. John Bacon, USA TODAY, 2 Apr. 2024 The Vikings fell to 4-7. Serra 5, Whitney-Rocklin 1 Trailing in the sixth inning, Serra erupted for five runs to turn back Whitney in the first round of the Boras Classic. Darren Sabedra, The Mercury News, 26 Mar. 2024 The bloody struggle has refugees trying to flee the chaos; many are turned back at the border with the neighboring Dominican Republic. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 15 Mar. 2024 While the lights on the ship were seen turning back on – likely due to an emergency generator – the engines never recovered, Diamond said. Dakin Andone, CNN, 27 Mar. 2024 According to the company’s outage map, the power was expected to be turned back by late Tuesday evening. Ethan Baron, The Mercury News, 26 Mar. 2024 Flight 1282, carrying 174 passengers and six crew members, was bound for San Bernardino County, California, but turned back to Portland after the door plug detached shortly after takeoff. Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 15 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'turn back.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near turn back

Cite this Entry

“Turn back.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turn%20back. Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

turn back

: to go in the reverse direction : return
turned back for home
: to stop the advance of : check
turned back the enemy
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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