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.
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.

Origin of turnstile

First recorded in 1635–45; turn + stile1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for turnstile

Contemporary Examples of turnstile

  • Unfortunately Lauren is watching this entire scene wedged in the turnstile by the Maclaren.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Real Moms of New York

    Laura Bennett

    March 15, 2009

  • He jumps out, goes through the turnstile, and enters the next train as it pulls into the station.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Real Moms of New York

    Laura Bennett

    March 15, 2009

Historical Examples of turnstile

  • 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



a mechanical gate or barrier with metal arms that are turned to admit one person at a time, usually in one direction only
any similar device that admits foot passengers but no large animals or vehicles
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
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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper