verb (used with object)
- to convert.
- to pervert.
verb (used without object)
- to retrace one's footsteps; turn around to return.
- to cause to go no further or to return, as by not welcoming; send away.
- to fold (a blanket, sheet of paper, etc.) on itself: Turn back the page to keep the place.
- to turn over; fold down.
- to lower in intensity; lessen.
- to refuse or reject (a person, request, etc.): The Marine Corps turned him down.
- to hand in; submit: to turn in a resignation.
- to inform on or deliver up: She promptly turned him in to the police.
- to turn from one path or course into another; veer.
- Informal. to go to bed; retire: I never turn in before eleven o'clock.
- to drive a vehicle or to walk into (a street, store, etc.): We turned into the dead-end street. He turned into the saloon at the corner.
- to be changed, transformed, or converted into: He has turned into a very pleasant fellow. The caterpillar turned into a butterfly.
- to stop the flow of (water, gas, etc.), as by closing a faucet or valve.
- to extinguish (a light).
- to divert; deflect.
- to diverge or branch off, as a side road from a main road.
- to drive a vehicle or walk onto (a side road) from a main road: You turn off at 96th Street. Turn off the highway on the dirt road.
- Slang. to stop listening: You could see him turn off as the speaker droned on.
- Slang. to disaffect, alienate, or disgust.
- Chiefly British. to discharge an employee.
- to cause (water, gas, etc.) to flow, as by opening a valve.
- to switch on (a light).
- to put into operation; activate.
- to start suddenly to affect or show: She turned on the charm and won him over.
- Slang. to induce (a person) to start taking a narcotic drug.
- Slang. to take a narcotic drug.
- Slang. to arouse or excite the interest of; engage: the first lecture that really turned me on.
- Slang. to arouse sexually.
- Also turn upon. to become suddenly hostile to: The dog turned on its owner.
- to extinguish (a light).
- to produce as the result of labor: She turned out four tapestries a year.
- to drive out; dismiss; discharge: a premier turned out of office.
- to fit out; dress; equip.
- to result; issue.
- to come to be; become ultimately.
- to be found or known; prove.
- to be present at; appear.
- Informal. to get out of bed.
- Nautical. to order (a seaman or seamen) from quarters for duty.
- to cause to turn outward, as the toes.
- to move or be moved from one side to another.
- to put in reverse position; invert.
- to consider; meditate; ponder.
- to transfer; give.
- to start (an engine): He turned over the car motor.
- (of an engine) to start: The motor turned over without any trouble.
- Commerce. to purchase and then sell (goods or commodities).
- Commerce. to do business or sell goods to the amount of (a specified sum).
- Commerce. to invest or recover (capital) in some transaction or in the course of business.
- to apply to for aid; appeal to: When he was starting out as an artist he turned to his friends for loans.
- to begin to attend to or work at something: After the storm we turned to and cleaned up the debris.
- to change to: The ice turned to water.
- to fold (material, a hem, cuffs, etc.) up or over in order to alter a garment.
- to bring to the surface by digging: to turn up a shovelful of earth.
- to uncover; find.
- to intensify or increase.
- to happen; occur: Let's wait and see what turns up.
- to appear; arrive: She turned up at the last moment.
- to be recovered: I'm sure your watch will turn up eventually.
- to come to notice; be seen.
- not in the correct succession; out of proper order.
- at an unsuitable time; imprudently; indiscreetly: He spoke out of turn and destroyed the cordial atmosphere of the meeting.
Origin of turn
British Dictionary definitions for by turns
- British the difference between a market maker's bid and offer prices, representing the market maker's profit
- a transaction including both a purchase and a sale
- at the point of change
- about to go rancid
- not in the correct or agreed order of succession
- improperly, inappropriately, or inopportunely
Word Origin for turn
Word Origin and History for by turns (1 of 2)
late Old English turnian "to rotate, revolve," in part also from Old French torner "to turn," both from Latin tornare "turn on a lathe," from tornus "lathe," from Greek tornos "lathe, tool for drawing circles," from PIE root *tere- "to rub, rub by turning, turn, twist" (see throw (v.)). Expression to turn (something) into (something else) probably retains the classical sense of "to shape on a lathe" (attested in English from c.1300). Related: Turned; turning.
To turn up "arrive" is recorded from 1755. Turn-off "something that dampens one's spirits" recorded by 1971 (said to have been in use since 1968); to turn (someone) on "excite, stimulate, arouse" is recorded from 1903. Someone should revive turn-sick "dizzy," which is attested from mid-15c. To turn (something) loose "set free" is recorded from 1590s. Turn down (v.) "reject" first recorded 1891, American English. Turn in "go to bed" is attested from 1690s, originally nautical. To turn the stomach "nauseate" is recorded from 1620s. To turn up one's nose as an expression of contempt is attested from 1779. Turning point is attested by 1836 in a figurative sense; literal sense from 1856.
Word Origin and History for by turns (1 of 2)
mid-13c., "action of rotation," from Anglo-French tourn (Old French tour), from Latin tornus "turning lathe;" also partly a noun of action from turn (v.). Meaning "an act of turning, a single revolution or part of a revolution" is attested from late 15c. Sense of "place of bending" (in a road, river, etc.) is recorded from early 15c. Meaning "beginning of a period of time" is attested from 1853 (e.g. turn-of-the-century, from 1921 as an adjectival phrase).
Sense of "act of good will" is recorded from c.1300. Meaning "spell of work" is from late 14c.; that of "an individual's time for action, when these go around in succession" is recorded from late 14c. Turn about "by turns, alternately" is recorded from 1640s. Phrase done to a turn (1780) suggests meat roasted on a spit. The turn of the screw (1796) is the additional twist to tighten its hold, sometimes with reference to torture by thumbscrews.
Idioms and Phrases with by turns (1 of 2)
Alternately, one after another, as in She is by turns cheerful, serious, and sad. [First half of 1500s]
Idioms and Phrases with by turns (2 of 2)
In addition to the idioms beginning with turn
- turn a blind eye to
- turn a deaf ear
- turn against
- turn a hair, not
- turn around
- turn around one's finger
- turn a trick
- turn away
- turn back
- turn down
- turn for the better
- turn in
- turn in one's grave
- turn off
- turn of phrase
- turn of the century
- turn of the tide
- turn on
- turn one's back on
- turn one's hand to
- turn one's head
- turn one's stomach
- turn on one's heel
- turn on the waterworks
- turn out
- turn out all right
- turn over
- turn over a new leaf
- turn over in one's grave
- turn tail
- turn the clock back
- turn the corner
- turn the other cheek
- turn the scale
- turn the tables
- turn the tide
- turn the trick
- turn thumbs down
- turn to
- turn to good account
- turn turtle
- turn up
- turn up like a bad penny
- turn up one's nose
- turn up one's toes
- turn upside down
- turn up the heat on
- turn up trumps
- at every turn
- by turns
- every time one turns around
- good turn
- in turn
- not know where to turn
- one good turn deserves another
- out of turn
- take a turn for the better
- take turns
- to a T (turn)
- twist (turn) around one's finger
- when someone's back is turned
Also see underunturned.