View synonyms for return


[ ri-turn ]

verb (used without object)

  1. to go or come back, as to a former place, position, or state: to return to public office;

    to return from abroad;

    to return to public office;

    to return to work.

  2. to revert to a former owner:

    The money I gave him returns to me in the event of his death.

  3. to revert or recur, as in thought, discourse, etc.:

    He returned to his story.

  4. to make a reply or retort:

    She returned with a witty sally.

    Synonyms: respond, reply, rejoin, answer

verb (used with object)

  1. to put, bring, take, give, or send back to the original place, position, etc.: to return a child to her mother;

    to return a book to a shelf;

    to return a child to her mother;

    to return the switch to off position.

    Synonyms: restore, replace

  2. to send or give back in reciprocation, recompense, or requital:

    to return evil for good.

    Synonyms: exchange

  3. to reciprocate, repay, or react to (something sent, given, done, etc.) with something similar: to return a favor.

    to return the enemy's fire;

    to return a favor.

  4. Law.
    1. to give to a judge or official (a statement or a writ of actions done).
    2. to render (a verdict, decision, etc.).
  5. to reflect (light, sound, etc.).
  6. to yield (a profit, revenue, etc.), as in return for labor, expenditure, or investment.

    Synonyms: yield, pay, earn, clear, pay out

  7. to report or announce officially:

    to return a list of members.

  8. to elect, as to a legislative body:

    The voters returned him to office by a landslide.

  9. Military. to put (a weapon) back into its holder.
  10. Cards. to respond to (a suit led) by a similar lead:

    She returned diamonds.

  11. to turn back or in the reverse direction, as a served ball in tennis.
  12. Chiefly Architecture. to cause to turn or proceed in a different direction from the previous line of direction; reverse:

    to return a cornice at each end of a façade.


  1. the act or fact of returning as by going or coming back or bringing, sending, or giving back:

    the return of the Jews from the Diaspora;

    We should appreciate your return of the book immediately.

  2. a recurrence:

    the return of the moon each month.

  3. reciprocation, repayment, or requital:

    profits in return for outlay.

  4. response or reply.
  5. a person or thing that is returned:

    returns of mill goods.

  6. the gain realized on an exchange of goods.
  7. Often returns. a yield or profit, as from labor, land, business, or investment:

    He received a quick return on his money.

    Synonyms: income, revenue

  8. Usually returns. an official or unofficial report on a count of votes, candidates elected, etc.:

    election returns.

  9. Chiefly British. return ticket ( def 2 ).
  10. Architecture.
    1. the continuation of a molding, projection, etc., in a different direction.
    2. a side or part that falls away from the front of any straight or flat member or area.
  11. a tablelike extension attached at a right angle to a desk at typing height, for holding a typewriter, computer, etc.
  12. a key or lever on a typewriter or other business machine that returns the carriage to the extreme right, or the typing element to the extreme left, for the beginning of a new line.
  13. Computers. carriage return2
  14. Sports.
    1. the act of returning a ball.
    2. the ball that is returned.
  15. Football. a runback of a kick, intercepted pass, or fumble recovery.
  16. Economics. yield per unit as compared to the cost per unit involved in a specific industrial process.
  17. Law.
    1. the bringing or sending back of various documents, such as a writ, summons, or subpoena, with a brief written report usually endorsed upon it, by a sheriff, to the court from which it issued.
    2. a certified document by a great variety of officers, as assessors, collectors, and election officers.
    3. the report or certificate endorsed in such documents.
  18. Cards. a lead that responds to a partner's lead.
  19. Theater. a flat or drapery parallel to the tormentor for masking the offstage area and often completing the downstage part of a set.
  20. returns,
    1. merchandise shipped back to a supplier from a retailer or distributor as unsold or unsalable.
    2. merchandise returned to a retailer by a consumer.


  1. of or relating to a return or returning:

    a return trip.

  2. sent, given, or done in return:

    a return shot.

  3. done or occurring again:

    a return engagement of the opera.

  4. noting a person or thing that is returned or returning to a place:

    return cargo.

  5. changing in direction; doubling or returning on itself:

    a return twist in a road.

  6. used for returning, recirculating, etc.: a return pipe.

    the return road;

    a return pipe.

  7. (of a game) played in order to provide the loser of an earlier game with the opportunity to win from the same opponent:

    return match.

  8. adequate, necessary, or provided to enable the return of a mailed package or letter to its sender: return address;

    return postage guaranteed;

    return address;

    return envelope.


/ rɪˈtɜːn /


  1. intr to come back to a former place or state
  2. tr to give, take, or carry back; replace or restore
  3. tr to repay or recompense, esp with something of equivalent value

    return the compliment

  4. tr to earn or yield (profit or interest) as an income from an investment or venture
  5. intr to come back or revert in thought or speech

    I'll return to that later

  6. intr to recur or reappear

    the symptoms have returned

  7. to answer or reply
  8. tr to vote into office; elect
  9. tr law (of a jury) to deliver or render (a verdict)
  10. tr to send back or reflect (light or sound)

    the canyon returned my shout

  11. tr to submit (a report, etc) about (someone or something) to someone in authority
  12. tr cards to lead back (the suit led by one's partner)
  13. tr ball games to hit, throw, or play (a ball) back
  14. tr architect to turn (a part, decorative moulding, etc) away from its original direction
  15. return thanks
    (of Christians) to say grace before a meal


  1. the act or an instance of coming back
  2. something that is given or sent back, esp unsatisfactory merchandise returned to the maker or supplier or a theatre ticket sent back by a purchaser for resale
  3. the act or an instance of putting, sending, or carrying back; replacement or restoration
  4. often plural the yield, revenue, or profit accruing from an investment, transaction, or venture
  5. the act or an instance of reciprocation or repayment (esp in the phrase in return for )
  6. a recurrence or reappearance
  7. an official report, esp of the financial condition of a company
    1. a form (a tax return ) on which a statement concerning one's taxable income is made
    2. the statement itself
  8. often plural a statement of the votes counted at an election or poll
  9. an answer or reply
  10. short for return ticket
  11. informal.
    a second helping of food served at a table
  12. architect
    1. a part of a building that forms an angle with the façade
    2. any part of an architectural feature that forms an angle with the main part
  13. law a report by a bailiff or other officer on the outcome of a formal document such as a claim, summons, etc, issued by a court
  14. cards a lead of a card in the suit that one's partner has previously led
  15. ball games the act of playing or throwing a ball back
  16. by return or by return of post
    by the next post back to the sender
  17. many happy returns or many happy returns of the day
    a conventional greeting to someone on his or her birthday
  18. the point of no return
    the point at which a person's commitment is irrevocable


  1. of, relating to, or characterized by a return

    a return visit

    a return performance

  2. denoting a second, reciprocated occasion

    a return match

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Other Words From

  • non·re·turn adjective
  • pre·re·turn noun verb (used without object)
  • un·re·turned adjective
  • un·re·turn·ing adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of return1

First recorded in 1275–1325; (verb) Middle English retornen, from Middle French retorner, returner, Old French ( re-, turn ); (noun) Middle English, from Anglo-French retorn, return, derivative of Old French retorner, returner; (adjective) derivative of the noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of return1

C14: from Old French retorner ; see re- , turn

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Idioms and Phrases

  • in return
  • many happy returns
  • point of no return

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Example Sentences

The third and fourth sets I just served and couldn’t do much on the return … and it worked, it worked well.

This new-age technology saves your time and spends while improving your returns on investment.

In March, when the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports leagues around the world, Hoppe returned to California and worked on his game.

They returned to practice Tuesday after a week-long shutdown, but nine Buffalo players remain on the covid-19 list.

Imagine this scenario, I return to work, book between 60-120 appointments in a month, and buy a clear mask for each client.

Would the Democrats rescind those rights if they were to return to power?

They called for peace, reconciliation, and the safe return of Father Gregorio.

Most travelers return home from trips revitalized and armed with new goals.

Nickelodeon did not return a request for comment for this story.

Later studies showed that only gaining weight and the return of natural menstruation help improve bone density.

All things that are of the earth, shall return to the earth again, and all waters shall return to the sea.

They feel that the system has few advantages to offer in return for the cost it entails upon them.

It being offensive to the French, they took none of it with them on their return.

After the battle of the Pyramids he fell sick, and before the Syrian expedition, applied to return to France.

He decided not to return home directly; he wanted to go somewhere, but did not care to stay in Chicago.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.