a U-shaped turn made by a vehicle so as to head in the opposite direction from its original course.
a reversal of policy, tactics, or the like, resembling such a maneuver.

verb (used without object)

to execute a U-turn: to U-turn into oncoming traffic.

Origin of U-turn

First recorded in 1925–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for u-turn

Contemporary Examples of u-turn

Historical Examples of u-turn

  • He put the groundcar in drive again, and made a U-turn in the highway.

    Rebels of the Red Planet

    Charles Louis Fontenay

  • No U-turn on through streets and no left turns out of alleys.

  • He twisted the car into the traffic again, and with a swift U-turn, headed the coupe toward home.

  • Watch for stop signs and street signals; no U-turn on through streets; turns in either direction at intersections.

  • They exchanged so-longs, and Kavaalen backed, and made a U-turn, moving off in the direction of Rosemont.

    Murder in the Gunroom

    Henry Beam Piper

British Dictionary definitions for u-turn



a turn made by a vehicle in the shape of a U, resulting in a reversal of direction
a complete change in direction of political or other policy
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 u-turn



1934, from u + turn (n.). So called in reference to the shape of the path described.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper