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take a turn for the better

Improve, as in We thought she was on her deathbed but now she's taken a turn for the better. The antonym is take a turn for the worse, meaning “get worse, deteriorate,” as in Unemployment has been fairly low lately, but now the economy's taken a turn for the worse. This idiom employs turn in the sense of “a reversal,” a usage dating from about 1600.

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