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turn Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a circular segment of a curve
    twist; crook; bend.
    • a bend in the road
    • a crook in the path
  2. noun the act of changing or reversing the direction of the course
    • he took a turn to the right
  3. noun (game) the activity of doing something in an agreed succession
    • it is my turn
    • it is still my play
  4. noun an unforeseen development
    twist; turn of events.
    • events suddenly took an awkward turn
  5. noun a movement in a new direction
    • the turning of the wind
  6. noun the act of turning away or in the opposite direction
    • he made an abrupt turn away from her
  7. noun turning or twisting around (in place)
    • with a quick twist of his head he surveyed the room
  8. noun a time for working (after which you will be relieved by someone else)
    go; tour; spell.
    • it's my go
    • a spell of work
  9. noun (sports) a division during which one team is on the offensive
    bout; round.
  10. noun a short theatrical performance that is part of a longer program
    bit; routine; number; act.
    • he did his act three times every evening
    • she had a catchy little routine
    • it was one of the best numbers he ever did
  11. noun a favor for someone
    good turn.
    • he did me a good turn
  12. noun taking a short walk out and back
    • we took a turn in the park
  13. verb change orientation or direction, also in the abstract sense
    • Turn towards me
    • The mugger turned and fled before I could see his face
    • She turned from herself and learned to listen to others' needs
  14. verb undergo a transformation or a change of position or action
    change state.
    • We turned from Socialism to Capitalism
    • The people turned against the President when he stole the election
  15. verb undergo a change or development
    • The water turned into ice
    • Her former friend became her worst enemy
    • He turned traitor
  16. verb cause to move around or rotate
    • turn a key
    • turn your palm this way
  17. verb change to the contrary
    change by reversal; reverse.
    • The trend was reversed
    • the tides turned against him
    • public opinion turned when it was revealed that the president had an affair with a White House intern
  18. verb pass to the other side of
    move around.
    • turn the corner
    • move around the obstacle
  19. verb pass into a condition gradually, take on a specific property or attribute; become
    • The weather turned nasty
    • She grew angry
  20. verb let (something) fall or spill from a container
    • turn the flour onto a plate
  21. verb move around an axis or a center
    • The wheels are turning
  22. verb cause to move around a center so as to show another side of
    turn over.
    • turn a page of a book
  23. verb to send or let go
    • They turned away the crowd at the gate of the governor's mansion
  24. verb to break and turn over earth especially with a plow
    plow; plough.
    • Farmer Jones plowed his east field last week
    • turn the earth in the Spring
  25. verb shape by rotating on a lathe or cutting device or a wheel
    • turn the legs of the table
    • turn the clay on the wheel
  26. verb change color
    • In Vermont, the leaves turn early
  27. verb twist suddenly so as to sprain
    twist; rick; wrick; sprain; wrench.
    • wrench one's ankle
    • The wrestler twisted his shoulder
    • the hikers sprained their ankles when they fell
    • I turned my ankle and couldn't walk for several days
  28. verb cause to change or turn into something different; assume new characteristics
    • The princess turned the frog into a prince by kissing him
    • The alchemists tried to turn lead into gold
  29. verb accomplish by rotating
    • turn a somersault
    • turn cartwheels
  30. verb get by buying and selling
    • the company turned a good profit after a year
  31. verb cause to move along an axis or into a new direction
    • turn your face to the wall
    • turn the car around
    • turn your dance partner around
  32. verb channel one's attention, interest, thought, or attention toward or away from something
    • The pedophile turned to boys for satisfaction
    • people turn to mysticism at the turn of a millennium
  33. verb cause (a plastic object) to assume a crooked or angular form
    twist; flex; bend; deform.
    • bend the rod
    • twist the dough into a braid
    • the strong man could turn an iron bar
  34. verb alter the functioning or setting of
    • turn the dial to 10
    • turn the heat down
  35. verb direct at someone
    • She turned a smile on me
    • They turned their flashlights on the car
  36. verb have recourse to or make an appeal or request for help or information to
    call on.
    • She called on her Representative to help her
    • She turned to her relatives for help
  37. verb go sour or spoil
    ferment; sour; work.
    • The milk has soured
    • The wine worked
    • The cream has turned--we have to throw it out
  38. verb become officially one year older
    • She is turning 50 this year

Turn transitive verb
OE. turnen, tournen, OF. tourner, torner, turner, F. tourner, LL. tornare, fr. L. tornare to turn in a lathe, to rounds off, fr. tornus a lathe, Gr. a turner's chisel, a carpenter's tool for drawing circles; probably akin to E. throw. See Throw, and cf. Attorney, Return, Tornado, Tour, Tournament.
imperfect & past participle Turned ; present participle & verbal noun Turning
  1. To cause to move upon a center, or as if upon a center; to give circular motion to; to cause to revolve; to cause to move round, either partially, wholly, or repeatedly; to make to change position so as to present other sides in given directions; to make to face otherwise; as, to turn a wheel or a spindle; to turn the body or the head.
    Turn the adamantine spindle round. Milton.
    The monarch turns him to his royal guest. Pope.
  2. To cause to present a different side uppermost or outmost; to make the upper side the lower, or the inside to be the outside of; to reverse the position of; as, to turn a box or a board; to turn a coat.
  3. To give another direction, tendency, or inclination to; to direct otherwise; to deflect; to incline differently; -- used both literally and figuratively; as, to turn the eyes to the heavens; to turn a horse from the road, or a ship from her course; to turn the attention to or from something. "Expert when to advance, or stand, or, turn the sway of battle." Milton.
    Thrice I deluded her, and turned to sport Her importunity. Milton.
    My thoughts are turned on peace. Addison.
  4. To change from a given use or office; to divert, as to another purpose or end; to transfer; to use or employ; to apply; to devote.
    Therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David. 1 Chron. x. 14.
    God will make these evils the occasion of a greater good, by turning them to advantage in this world. Tillotson.
    When the passage is open, land will be turned most to cattle; when shut, to sheep. Sir W. Temple.
  5. To change the form, quality, aspect, or effect of; to alter; to metamorphose; to convert; to transform; -- often with to or into before the word denoting the effect or product of the change; as, to turn a worm into a winged insect; to turn green to blue; to turn prose into verse; to turn a Whig to a Tory, or a Hindoo to a Christian; to turn good to evil, and the like.
    The Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee. Deut. xxx. 3.
    And David said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. 2 Sam. xv. 31.
    Impatience turns an ague into a fever. Jer. Taylor.
  6. To form in a lathe; to shape or fashion (anything) by applying a cutting tool to it while revolving; as, to turn the legs of stools or tables; to turn ivory or metal.
    I had rather hear a brazen canstick turned. Shak.
  7. Hence, to give form to; to shape; to mold; to put in proper condition; to adapt. "The poet's pen turns them to shapes." Shak.
    His limbs how turned, how broad his shoulders spread ! Pope.
    He was perfectly well turned for trade. Addison.
  8. Specifically: -- (a) To translate; to construe; as, to turn the Iliad.
    Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown. Pope.
    (b) To make acid or sour; to ferment; to curdle, etc.: as, to turn cider or wine; electricity turns milk quickly. (c) To sicken; to nauseate; as, an emetic turns one's stomach.
Turn intransitive verb
  1. To move round; to have a circular motion; to revolve entirely, repeatedly, or partially; to change position, so as to face differently; to whirl or wheel round; as, a wheel turns on its axis; a spindle turns on a pivot; a man turns on his heel.
    The gate . . . on golden hinges turning. Milton.
  2. Hence, to revolve as if upon a point of support; to hinge; to depend; as, the decision turns on a single fact.
    Conditions of peace certainly turn upon events of war. Swift.
  3. To result or terminate; to come about; to eventuate; to issue.
    If we repent seriously, submit contentedly, and serve him faithfully, afflictions shall turn to our advantage. Wake.
  4. To be deflected; to take a different direction or tendency; to be directed otherwise; to be differently applied; to be transferred; as, to turn from the road.
    Turn from thy fierce wrath. Ex. xxxii. 12.
    Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways. Ezek. xxxiii. 11.
    The understanding turns inward on itself, and reflects on its own operations. Locke.
  5. To be changed, altered, or transformed; to become transmuted; also, to become by a change or changes; to grow; as, wood turns to stone; water turns to ice; one color turns to another; to turn Mohammedan.
    I hope you have no intent to turn husband. Shak.
    Cygnets from gray turn white. Bacon.
  6. To undergo the process of turning on a lathe; as, ivory turns well.
  7. Specifically: -- (a) To become acid; to sour; -- said of milk, ale, etc. (b) To become giddy; -- said of the head or brain.
    I'll look no more; Lest my brain turn. Shak.
    (c) To be nauseated; -- said of the stomach. (d) To become inclined in the other direction; -- said of scales. (e) To change from ebb to flow, or from flow to ebb; -- said of the tide. (f) (Obstetrics) To bring down the feet of a child in the womb, in order to facilitate delivery.
  8. (Print.) To invert a type of the same thickness, as temporary substitute for any sort which is exhausted.
Turn noun
  1. The act of turning; movement or motion about, or as if about, a center or axis; revolution; as, the turn of a wheel.
  2. Change of direction, course, or tendency; different order, position, or aspect of affairs; alteration; vicissitude; as, the turn of the tide.
    At length his complaint took a favorable turn. Macaulay.
    The turns and varieties of all passions. Hooker.
    Too well the turns of mortal chance I know. Pope.
  3. One of the successive portions of a course, or of a series of occurrences, reckoning from change to change; hence, a winding; a bend; a meander.
    And all its [the river's] thousand turns disclose. Some fresher beauty varying round. Byron.
  4. A circuitous walk, or a walk to and fro, ending where it began; a short walk; a stroll.
    Come, you and I must walk a turn together. Shak.
    I will take a turn in your garden. Dryden.
  5. Successive course; opportunity enjoyed by alternation with another or with others, or in due order; due chance; alternate or incidental occasion; appropriate time. "Nobleness and bounty . . . had their turns in his [the king's] nature."
    His turn will come to laugh at you again. Denham
    Every one has a fair turn to be as great as he pleases. Collier.
  6. Incidental or opportune deed or office; occasional act of kindness or malice; as, to do one an ill turn.
    Had I not done a friendes turn to thee? Chaucer.
    thanks are half lost when good turns are delayed. Fairfax.
  7. Convenience; occasion; purpose; exigence; as, this will not serve his turn.
    I have enough to serve mine own turn. Shak.
  8. Form; cast; shape; manner; fashion; -- used in a literal or figurative sense; hence, form of expression; mode of signifying; as, the turn of thought; a man of a sprightly turn in conversation.
    The turn of both his expressions and thoughts is unharmonious. Dryden.
    The Roman poets, in their description of a beautiful man, often mention the turn of his neck and arms. Addison.
  9. A change of condition; especially, a sudden or recurring symptom of illness, as a nervous shock, or fainting spell; as, a bad turn. Colloq.
  10. A fall off the ladder at the gallows; a hanging; -- so called from the practice of causing the criminal to stand on a ladder which was turned over, so throwing him off, when the signal was given. Obs.
  11. A round of a rope or cord in order to secure it, as about a pin or a cleat.
  12. (Mining) A pit sunk in some part of a drift.
  13. (Eng. Law) A court of record, held by the sheriff twice a year in every hundred within his county. Blount.
  14. pl. (Med.) Monthly courses; menses. Colloq.
  15. (Mus.) An embellishment or grace (marked thus, ), commonly consisting of the principal note, or that on which the turn is made, with the note above, and the semitone below, the note above being sounded first, the principal note next, and the semitone below last, the three being performed quickly, as a triplet preceding the marked note. The turn may be inverted so as to begin with the lower note, in which case the sign is either placed on end thus , or drawn thus .

Webster 1913