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

And sure, the movie can't make too much fun of itself, but there are a few meta moments—including Belle asking the Beast to grow a beard after he's turned back into a human. Mehera Bonner, Marie Claire, "13 Ways 'Beauty and the Beast' Is *Completely* Different from the Original," 3 Mar. 2017 Once Jeff Flake and Susan Collins joined the call for hearings, there was no turning back. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "The moral and political dilemma created by Kavanaugh's accuser," 18 Sep. 2018 The woman then turned her pickup truck around on Henry and turned back onto West Bridge without signaling. Bob Sandrick, cleveland.com, "Police find pills on driver with suspended license; $800 stolen from checking account: Berea police blotter," 19 Apr. 2018 In Wisconsin, Tony Evers defeated the two-term incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, a conservative hero, while once-vulnerable Sen. Tammy Baldwin turned back her Republican challenger with a 10-point win. William A. Galston, WSJ, "The Midwest Is the Democrats’ Key," 13 Nov. 2018 The same could well happen this time around as some turn back, splinter off on their own or decide to take their chances on asylum in Mexico — as 1,128 have done so far, according to the country’s Interior Department. Mark Stevenson, The Seattle Times, "Weary migrants still far reaching US border," 23 Oct. 2018 When Pogreba briefly turned back in their direction still holding the gun, the boy again fired the shotgun, with most of the pellets spraying the foliage beyond his father — though the boy thought some may have struck his father as well. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here's what authorities say happened leading up to a massive manhunt for Jonathan Pogreba in Eagle," 7 June 2018 Each lawmaker walked a little bit away from each other down the aisle, only to turn back and continue yelling at each other, for about minute. The Washington Post, OregonLive.com, "Chaplain from Oregon sworn back in by U.S. House speaker Ryan," 8 May 2018 The gale has a 10 percent chance of turning back into a cyclone in the next couple days, according to the National Hurricane Center's 2 p.m. update. Alex Harris And Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "21,000 homes, businesses without power as Hurricane Beryl's remains sweep Puerto Rico," 9 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

17 Jan 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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to settle judicially or to act as judge

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