turn

verb
\ ˈtərn How to pronounce turn (audio) \
turned; turning; turns

Definition of turn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to cause to move around an axis or a center : make rotate or revolve turn a wheel turn a crank
b(1) : to cause to move around so as to effect a desired end (as of locking, opening, or shutting) turned the knob till the door opened
(2) : to affect or alter the functioning of (something, such as a mechanical device) or the level of (something, such as sound) by such movement turn the oven to 400° turn the music to full volume
c : to execute or perform by rotating or revolving turn handsprings
d : to twist out of line or shape : wrench had turned his ankle
2a(1) : to cause to change position by moving through an arc of a circle turned her chair to the fire
(2) : to cause to move around a center so as to show another side of turn the page
(3) : to cause (a scale) to move so as to register weight
b : to revolve mentally : think over : ponder
3a : to reverse the sides or surfaces of : invert turn pancakes turn the shirt inside out : such as
(1) : to dig or plow so as to bring the lower soil to the surface turn the compost weekly
(2) : to make (a garment) over by reversing the material and resewing turn a collar
(3) : to invert (something, such as a character, rule, or slug) feet up and face down in setting type
b : to reverse or upset the order or disposition of everything was turned topsy-turvy
c : to disturb or upset the mental balance of : derange, unsettle a mind turned by grief
d : to set in another especially contrary direction
4a : to bend or change the course of : divert a battle that turned the tide of history
b : to bend a course around or about : round turned the corner at full speed
c : to cause to retreat used fire hoses to turn the mob
d : to alter the drift, tendency, or expected result of
5a(1) : to direct or point (something, such as the face) in a specified way or direction
(2) : to present by a change in direction or position turning his back to his guests
b : to direct (something, such as the attention or mind) toward or away from something
c : to direct the employment of : apply, devote turned his skills to the service of humankind
d(1) : to cause to rebound or recoil turns their argument against them
(2) : to make antagonistic : prejudice turn a child against its mother
e(1) : to cause to go in a particular direction turned our steps homeward
(2) : drive, send turn cows to pasture turning hunters off his land
(3) : to convey or direct out of an inverted receptacle turn the mixture into a baking dish
f : to bring to bear (as by aiming, pointing, or focusing) : train turned the light into the dark doorway turned a questioning eye toward her
6a(1) : to make acid or sour
(2) : to change the color of (foliage)
b(1) : convert, transform turn defeat into victory
c : to cause to become of a specified nature or appearance turned him into a frog embarrassment turned her face red
d : to exchange for something else turn coins into paper money
e : to cause to defect to another side
7a : to shape especially in a rounded form by applying a cutting tool while revolving in a lathe
b : to give a rounded form to by any means turn the heel of a sock
c : to shape or mold artistically, gracefully, or neatly a well turned phrase
8 : to make a fold, bend, or curve in:
a : to form by bending turn a lead pipe
b : to cause (the edge of a blade) to bend back or over : blunt, dull
9a : to gain in the course of business turning a quick profit
b : to keep (money, goods, etc.) moving specifically : to dispose of (a stock) to make room for another
c : to make use of turned her education to advantage
d : to carry to completion : pull off turned a double play turn a deal
10 : to engage in (an act of prostitution) turn tricks

intransitive verb

1a : to move around on an axis or through an arc of a circle : rotate
b(1) : to become focused on something specified the conversation turned to baseball
(2) : to have as a decisive factor : hinge the argument turns on a point of logic the outcome of the game turned on an interception
(3) : to have a center (as of interest) in something specified the discussion turned on the overall worth of the project
c : to become giddy or dizzy : spin heights always made his head turn
2a : to direct one's course
b(1) : to reverse a course or direction the tide has turned
(2) : to have a reactive usually adverse effect
c : to take a different course or direction turned toward home the main road turns sharply to the right
3a : to change position (as of one's head) so as to face another way everyone turned to stare
b : to face toward or away from someone or something flowers turn toward the light
c : to change one's attitude or reverse one's course of action to one of opposition or hostility felt the world had turned against him
d : to make a sudden violent assault especially without evident cause dogs turning on their owners
4a : to direct one's attention to or away from someone or something
b : to have recourse : refer, resort turned to a friend for help turned to his notes for the exact figures
c : to direct one's efforts or activity : devote or apply oneself turned to the study of the law turned to a life of crime
d(1) : to change one's religion
(2) : to go over to another side or party : defect
5a : to become changed, altered, or transformed the weather turned : such as
(1) : to change color the leaves have turned
(2) : to become sour, rancid, or tainted the milk had turned
(3) : to be variable or inconstant
(4) : to become mentally unbalanced : become deranged
(5) archaic : to become different
b(1) : to pass from one state to another : change water had turned to ice
(2) : become, grow his hair had turned gray the weather turned bad just turned twenty
(3) : to become someone or something specified by change from another state : change into turn pro doctors turned authors
(4) : to change by the passage of time days turned into weeks and months
6 : to become curved or bent (as from pressure) especially : to become blunted by bending the edge of the knife had turned
7 : to operate a lathe
8 of merchandise : to be stocked and disposed of : change hands
turn a blind eye
: to refuse to see : be oblivious might turn a blind eye to the use of violence— Arthur Krock
turn a deaf ear
: to refuse to listen
turn a hair
: to give a sign of distress or disturbance did not turn a hair when told of the savage murderThe Times Literary Supplement (London)
turn color
1 : to become of a different color
2a : blush, flush
b : to grow pale
turn heads
: to attract favorable attention the car's sleek design is bound to turn heads
turn loose
1a : to set free turned loose the captured animal
b : to free from all restraints turned them loose with a pile of theme paper to write whatever they liked— Elizabeth P. Schafer
2 : to fire off : discharge
3 : to open fire
turn one's back on
1 : reject, deny would be turning one's back on history— Pius Walsh
2 : forsake turned his back on his obligations
turn one's hand or turn a hand
: to set to work : apply oneself
turn one's head
: to cause to become infatuated or conceited success had not turned his head
turn one's stomach
: to disgust completely : nauseate the foul smell turned his stomach
turn tail
: to turn away so as to flee
turn the other cheek
: to respond to injury or unkindness with patience : forgo retaliation
turn the tables
: to bring about a reversal of the relative conditions or fortunes of two contending parties
turn the trick
: to bring about the desired result or effect
turn turtle

turn

noun

Definition of turn (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : the action or an act of turning about a center or axis : revolution, rotation
b : any of various rotating or pivoting movements in dancing or gymnastics
2a : the action or an act of giving or taking a different direction : change of course or posture an illegal left turn : such as
(1) : a drill maneuver in which troops in mass formation change direction without preserving alignment
(2) : any of various shifts of direction in skiing
(3) : an interruption of a curve in figure skating
b : a place at which something turns, turns off, or turns back : bend, curve
d : the action or an act of turning so as to face in the opposite direction : reversal of posture or course an about turn the turn of the tide
e : a change effected by turning over to another side a turn of the cards
3 : an act or deed affecting another especially when incidental or unexpected one good turn deserves another
4a : a place, time, or opportunity accorded an individual or unit of a series in simple succession or in a scheduled order waiting her turn in line
b : a period of action or activity : go, spell took a turn at the piano
c : a period or tour of duty : shift
d : a short act or piece (as for a variety show) also : public appearance : performance makes frequent guest star turns
e(1) : an event in any gambling game after which bets are settled
(2) : the order of the last three cards in faro used in the phrase call the turn
5a : an act of changing : alteration, modification a nasty turn in the weather
b : a change in tendency, trend, or drift hoped for a turn in his luck a turn for the better an unexpected turn of events
c : the beginning of a new period of time : the time when one period changes to the next the turn of the century
6a : a fashioning of language or arrangement of words : manner of expression skillful turns of phrase
b : distinctive quality or character
c : the shape or mold in which something is fashioned : cast
7 : a short trip out and back or round about took a turn through the park
8 : something that revolves around a center: such as
a(1) : lathe
(2) : a catch or latch for a cupboard or cabinet door operated by turning a handle
b : a musical ornament consisting of a group of four or more notes that wind about the principal note by including the notes next above and next below
9 : a special purpose or requirement used chiefly in the phrase serve one's turn
10a : the state or manner of being coiled or twisted
b : a single round (as of rope passed about an object or of wire wound on a core)
11 : natural or special ability or aptitude : bent, inclination a turn for logic an optimistic turn of mind
12 : a special twist, construction, or interpretation gave the old yarn a new turn
13a : a disordering spell or attack (as of illness, faintness, or dizziness)
b : a nervous start or shock snuck up on her and gave her quite a turn
14a : a complete transaction involving a purchase and sale of securities also : a profit from such a transaction
15 : something turned or to be turned: such as
a : a character or slug inverted in setting type
b : a piece of type placed bottom up
at every turn
: on every occasion : continually they opposed her at every turn
by turns
1 : one after another in regular succession
2 : variously, alternately a book that is by turns pedantic, delightful, and infuriating
in turn
: in due order of succession
on the turn
: at the point of turning tide is on the turn
out of turn
1 : not in due order of succession play out of turn
2 : at a wrong time or place and usually imprudently talking out of turn
to a turn
: to perfection

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Other Words from turn

Verb

turnable \ ˈtər-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce turnable (audio) \ adjective

Examples of turn in a Sentence

Verb He turned the key and opened the door. She slowly turned the doorknob. Turn the steering wheel all the way to the left. Someone turned the switch and the lights came on. They turned and walked away. She turned to leave—but stopped. He turned aside to let me pass. The patient turned onto his side. The photographer asked her to turn slightly to her left. He turned himself around to see the back of his shirt in the mirror. Noun You have to wait your turn in line. Is it my turn yet? Give the wheel another turn. He tightened the screw with one last turn. With a turn of the switch, the lights came back on. Take a left-hand turn at the next intersection. a quick turn of her head
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Rain — a rare sight in the Bay Area since spring — is expected to start falling from the skies Tuesday afternoon, first arriving in light showers before turning into a full-fledged cold and windy rainstorm by nightfall. Michael Cabanatuan, SFChronicle.com, "Biggest storm in six months to hit Bay Area this afternoon," 26 Nov. 2019 Police said 29-year-old Sabrina Rosario’s estranged husband shot and killed her and their sons Enzi Valdivia, 3, Zuriel Valdivia, 5, and Zeth Valdivia, 11, before turning the gun on himself inside their San Diego home. Fox News, "San Diego boy, 9, is 4th sibling to die in horrific murder-suicide," 25 Nov. 2019 Neither team turns over the ball often, but the Beavers turn it over less. oregonlive, "Oregon Ducks need to fix their defensive issues or they could get lit up again: Issues & Answers," 25 Nov. 2019 Eventually, the flashbacks and anxiety turned into panic attacks. Health.com, "Doctors Dismissed the Lump on My Neck as a ‘Swollen Lymph Node’ for 5 Years—but It Turned Out to Be Cancer," 25 Nov. 2019 Almost windowless, the low-lying building with its rounded corners turns inward from the surrounding city. Christopher Benfey, Harper's magazine, "Burning Down the House," 25 Nov. 2019 The Cooper family’s annual Christmas Eve celebration turns chaotic thanks to a series of unexpected visitors and unforeseen events. Chris Foran, jsonline.com, "Christmas TV guide 2019: Where and when you can find holiday shows, from Hallmark movies to 'Grinch'," 25 Nov. 2019 Coming out of a timeout, Austin Watkins lined up to the outside, looked for the nod from his quarterback, Dylan Hopkins, and ran the sideline for 10 yards before turning across the middle of the field. Evan Dudley, al, "Austin Watkin’s fourth-down catch sparks UAB’s 20-14 win over LA Tech," 24 Nov. 2019 Clouds increase, but rain should hold off until the hours around sunset before turning heavier at night. Ian Livingston, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Rain focuses on tonight, and Sunday is breezy. Some warming into next week.," 23 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most of that oil is bought by China, which in turn owns about 70 percent of Angola’s debt, or around $23 billion. Max Bearak, Washington Post, "A crisis in the water is decimating this once-booming fishing town," 27 Nov. 2019 Overall consumer spending growth, in turn, is slowing at a critical period for the economy. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Higher-income consumers pull back on spending, posing a risk to the economy," 26 Nov. 2019 That perception, in turn, bolsters arguments against legislative reforms that would facilitate union organizing efforts. David Scott Witwer, The Conversation, "Jimmy Hoffa disappeared – and then his legacy took on a life of its own," 26 Nov. 2019 Wooten in turn recruited several of his former key players from his Iowa team that won it all to help beat the Rattlers, who didn't lose to the Skulls last season. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Rattlers will open two weeks after the first week of IFL season," 26 Nov. 2019 Someone aware of the Lexington-Louisville operation talked to a DEA agent in 2016, who, in turn, flagged investigators in Kentucky. Beth Warren, courier-journal.com, "A ruthless Mexican drug lord’s empire is devastating families with its grip on small-town USA," 25 Nov. 2019 These ills in turn lead to heightened levels of social anxiety and loneliness among the affected population. Victor Odundo Owuor, Quartz Africa, "The uncomfortable link between smartphones and the rise in gambling with Africa’s youth," 24 Nov. 2019 Mistakes are expected, which in turn become the portals of discovery. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "Creative confidence is not what you think," 23 Nov. 2019 This in turn may demand new laws that reboot America’s rickety antitrust regulators. The Economist, "Tackling America’s giant hospital bill," 23 Nov. 2019

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

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for turn

Verb

Middle English; partly from Old English tyrnan & turnian to turn, from Medieval Latin tornare, from Latin, to turn on a lathe, from tornus lathe, from Greek tornos; partly from Anglo-French turner, tourner to turn, from Medieval Latin tornare; akin to Latin terere to rub — more at throw entry 1

Noun

Middle English; partly from Anglo-French tur, tourn turning, circuit (from turner to turn); partly from Middle English turnen to turn

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Time Traveler for turn

Time Traveler

The first known use of turn was before the 12th century

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Statistics for turn

Last Updated

29 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Turn.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turn%20tail. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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More Definitions for turn

turn

verb
How to pronounce turn (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of turn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move around a central point
: to cause your body or a part of your body to face a different direction
: to cause (something or a side of something) to face an opposite or different direction

turn

noun

English Language Learners Definition of turn (Entry 2 of 2)

: an opportunity or responsibility to do or use something before or after other people
: an act of turning something around a central point
: an act of changing the direction that someone or something is facing or moving in

turn

verb
\ ˈtərn How to pronounce turn (audio) \
turned; turning

Kids Definition of turn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to change in position usually by moving through an arc of a circle They turned and walked away. Turn the pancakes over.
2 : to change course or direction The road turns to the left.
3 : to move or direct toward or away from something We turned toward home.
4 : to become or cause to become a certain way The weather turned leaves red.
5 : change entry 1 sense 1, transform turn lead into gold
6 : to move or cause to move around a center : rotate The earth turns on its axis.
7 : to twist so as to bring about a desired end Turn the key to unlock the door.
8 : to go around We turned the corner.
9 : to reach or pass beyond Soon she will turn ten.
10 : to become or make very unfriendly We were friends until she turned on me.
11 : to pass from one state to another : become The weather turned cold.
12 : execute sense 2, perform turn somersaults
13 : to set in another and especially an opposite direction It's difficult to turn the car on such a narrow street.
14 : wrench entry 1 sense 2 turn an ankle
15 : upset entry 1 sense 2 His behavior turns my stomach.
16 : to make an appeal He turned to a friend for help.
17 : to make or become spoiled The milk turned.
19 : to give a rounded form to (as on a lathe)
turn down
1 : to lower by using a control Turn down the heat.
2 : refuse entry 1 sense 1, reject I turned down the offer.
3 : to fold back or under Turn down the sheets.
turn off
1 : to stop by using a control Remember to turn off the alarm.
2 : to change direction They turned off onto another road.
turn on
: to make work by using a control Turn on the light.
turn out
1 : to prove to be The noise turned out to be from mice.
2 : to turn off
turn over
: to give control or responsibility of to someone
turn tail
: to turn so as to run away
turn up
1 : to be found or happen unexpectedly Don't worry, the key will turn up.
2 : to raise by or as if by using a control Turn up the volume.

turn

noun

Kids Definition of turn (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of moving about a center Give the crank another turn.
2 : a change or changing of direction, course, or position Make a left turn.
3 : a place at which something changes direction a turn in the road
4 : a period of action or activity : spell I had my turn as guard.
5 : proper place in a waiting line or time in a schedule Take your turn.
6 : a change or changing of the general state or condition Business took a turn for the better.
7 : an act affecting another Do a friend a good turn.
8 : a short walk or ride They took a turn through the park.
9 : a special purpose or need That will serve the turn.
10 : special quality a nice turn of phrase
11 : the beginning of a new period of time the turn of the century
12 : a single circle or loop (as of rope passed around an object)
13 : natural or special skill She has a turn for writing.
at every turn
: all the time : constantly, continuously She has managed to succeed at every turn.
by turns
: one after another
in turn
: one after the other in order
to a turn
: precisely right The turkey was cooked to a turn.
\ ˈtərn How to pronounce turn (audio) \

Medical Definition of turn

: to injure by twisting or wrenching turned his ankle

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Legal Definition of turn

: to have a specified decisive factor used with on the first of the cases…turned on first amendment issues— K. A. Cohen

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More from Merriam-Webster on turn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for turn

Spanish Central: Translation of turn

Nglish: Translation of turn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of turn for Arabic Speakers

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