[ turn-pahyk ]
/ ˈtɜrnˌpaɪk /


a high-speed highway, especially one maintained by tolls.
(formerly) a barrier set across such a highway to stop passage until a toll has been paid; tollgate.

Nearby words

  1. turnoff,
  2. turnon,
  3. turnout,
  4. turnover,
  5. turnover flap,
  6. turnround,
  7. turnsole,
  8. turnspit,
  9. turnstile,
  10. turnstone

Origin of turnpike

1375–1425; late Middle English turnepike road barrier (in def. 1, short for turnpike road). See turn, pike2

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for turnpike

British Dictionary definitions for turnpike


/ (ˈtɜːnˌpaɪk) /


(between the mid-16th and late 19th centuries)
  1. gates or some other barrier set across a road to prevent passage until a toll had been paid
  2. a road on which a turnpike was operated
an obsolete word for turnstile (def. 1)
US a motorway for use of which a toll is charged

Word Origin for turnpike

C15: from turn + pike ²

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for turnpike



early 15c., "spiked road barrier used for defense," from turn + pike (n.2) "shaft." Sense transferred to "horizontal cross of timber, turning on a vertical pin" (1540s), which were used to bar horses from foot roads. This led to the sense of "barrier to stop passage until a toll is paid" (1670s). Meaning "road with a toll gate" is from 1748, shortening of turnpike road (1745).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper