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See more synonyms for turnstile on Thesaurus.com
  1. a structure of four horizontally revolving arms pivoted atop a post and set in a gateway or opening in a fence to allow the controlled passage of people.
  2. a similar device set up in an entrance to bar passage until a charge is paid, to record the number of persons passing through, etc.
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Origin of turnstile

First recorded in 1635–45; turn + stile1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for turnstile

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • One must pass through a turnstile before these wonders are accessible.

  • A balanced barrier to a passage in a fort, of the nature of a turnstile.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • They paid their two halfpennies at the turnstile and crossed the bridge.

    Sons and Lovers

    David Herbert Lawrence

  • A railing should be built in front of the turnstile to block the passage on that side.

    The Boy Craftsman

    A. Neely Hall

  • If you want to know what that means, go somewhere and watch a turnstile.

    The Arrow of Fire

    Roy J. Snell

British Dictionary definitions for turnstile


  1. a mechanical gate or barrier with metal arms that are turned to admit one person at a time, usually in one direction only
  2. any similar device that admits foot passengers but no large animals or vehicles
  3. Also called: gatepost logic a symbol of the form ̃⊢, ⊨, or ⊩, used to represent logical consequence when inserted between expressions to form a sequent, or when prefixed to a single expression to indicate its status as a theorem
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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 turnstile


1640s, from turn (v.) + stile (n.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper