- a container or machine in which cream or milk is agitated to make butter.
- any of various containers or machines similar in shape or action to a butter churn, as a device for mixing beverages.
- British. a large milk can.
- an act of churning stocks by a stockbroker.
- to agitate in order to make into butter: to churn cream.
- to make (butter) by the agitation of cream.
- to shake or agitate with violence or continued motion: The storm churned the sea.
- to turn over and over in the mind: His brain slowly churned all the choices and possibilities.
- (of a stockbroker) to trade (a customer's securities) excessively in order to earn more in commissions.
- to operate a churn.
- to move or shake in agitation, as a liquid or any loose matter: The leaves churned along the ground.
- to be changing rapidly or be in a confused state: Her emotions churned as she viewed the horrific photos.
- to have a queasy feeling, as from anxiety or disgust: My insides were churning at the thought of being on stage.
- (of a stockbroker) to engage in the practice of churning.
- churn out, to produce mechanically, hurriedly, or routinely: He was hired to churn out verses for greeting cards.
Origin of churn
Synonyms for churn
- to produce (something) at a rapid rateto churn out ideas
- to perform (something) mechanicallyto churn out a song
- British a large container for milk
- a vessel or machine in which cream or whole milk is vigorously agitated to produce butter
- any similar device
- the number of customers who switch from one supplier to another
- to stir or agitate (milk or cream) in order to make butter
- to make (butter) by this process
- (sometimes foll by up) to move or cause to move with agitationideas churned in his head
- (of a bank, broker, etc) to encourage an investor or policyholder to change investments, endowment policies, etc, to increase commissions at the client's expense
- (of a government) to pay benefits to a wide category of people and claw it back by taxation from the well off
- to promote the turnover of existing subscribers leasing, and new subscribers joining, a cable television system or mobile phone company
Word Origin for churn
Old English cyrin, from Proto-Germanic *kernjon (cf. Old Norse kirna, Swedish kärna, Danish kjerne, Dutch karn, Middle High German kern); probably akin to cyrnel "kernel" (see kernel) and describing the "grainy" appearance of churned cream.
mid-15c., chyrnen, from churn (n.). Extended senses are from late 17c. Intransitive sense is from 1735. Related: Churned; churning. To churn out, of writing, is from 1902.
Produce in an abundant and automatic manner, as in He churned out a novel every six months. This idiom transfers the turning of milk into butter to other kinds of production. [Early 1900s]