Definition of return verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//rɪˈtɜːn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtɜːrn//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they return
    BrE BrE//rɪˈtɜːn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtɜːrn//
    he / she / it returns
    BrE BrE//rɪˈtɜːnz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtɜːrnz//
    past simple returned
    BrE BrE//rɪˈtɜːnd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtɜːrnd//
    past participle returned
    BrE BrE//rɪˈtɜːnd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtɜːrnd//
    -ing form returning
    BrE BrE//rɪˈtɜːnɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//rɪˈtɜːrnɪŋ//
    Cost and payment, Tennis, Online shopping
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    come/go back
  1. 1  [intransitive] to come or go back from one place to another I waited a long time for him to return. return (to…) (from…) She's returning to Australia tomorrow after six months in Europe. I returned from work to find the house empty. When did she return home from the trip? I had to return to the store to look for my purse. Synonymsreturncome back go back get back turn backThese words all mean to come or go back from one place to another.return to come or go back from one place to another:I waited a long time for him to return. Return is slightly more formal than the other words in this group, and is used more often in writing or formal speech.come back to return. Come back is usually used from the point of view of the person or place that somebody returns to:Come back and visit again soon!go back to return to the place you recently or originally came from or that you have been to before. Go back is usually used from the point of view of the person who is returning:Do you ever want to go back to China?get back to arrive back somewhere, especially at your home or the place where you are staying:What time did you get back last night?turn back to return the way that you came, especially because something stops you from continuing:The weather got so bad that we had to turn back.Patterns to return/​come back/​go back/​get back to/​from/​with something to return/​come back/​go back/​get back/​turn back again to return/​come back/​go back/​get back home/​to work to return/​come back/​get back safely
  2. bring/give back
  3. 2  [transitive] to bring, give, put or send something back to somebody/something return somebody/something to somebody/something We had to return the hairdryer to the store because it was faulty. I must return some books to the library. The court ordered him to return the children to their mother. Completed questionnaires should be returned to this address. return something Don't forget to return my pen! return somebody/something + adj. I returned the letter unopened. See related entries: Cost and payment, Online shopping
  4. of feeling/quality
  5. 3  [intransitive] to come back again synonym reappear, resurface The following day the pain returned. Her suspicions returned when things started going missing again.
  6. to previous subject/activity
  7. 4  [intransitive] return (to something) to start discussing a subject you were discussing earlier, or doing an activity you were doing earlier He returns to this topic later in the report. She looked up briefly then returned to her sewing. The doctor may allow her to return to work next week.
  8. to previous state
  9. 5  [intransitive] return to something to go back to a previous state Train services have returned to normal after the strike.
  10. do/give the same
  11. 6[transitive] return something to do or give something to somebody because they have done or given the same to you first; to have the same feeling about somebody that they have about you to return a favour/greeting/stare She phoned him several times but he was too busy to return her call. It's time we returned their invitation (= invite them to something as they invited us to something first). He did not return her love. ‘You were both wonderful!’ ‘So were you!’ we said, returning the compliment. to return fire (= to shoot at somebody who is shooting at you)
  12. in tennis
  13. 7[transitive] return something to hit the ball back to your opponent during a game to return a service/shot See related entries: Tennis
  14. a verdict
  15. 8[transitive] return a verdict to give a decision about something in court The jury returned a verdict of not guilty. The inquest returned a verdict of accidental death.
  16. elect politician
  17. 9[transitive, usually passive] return somebody (to something) | return somebody (as something) (British English) to elect somebody to a political position She was returned as MP for Edgbaston in the last election. He was returned to Parliament with an increased majority.
  18. profit/loss
  19. 10[transitive] return something (business) to give or produce a particular amount of money as a profit or loss to return a high rate of interest Last year the company returned a loss of £157 million.
  20. Word OriginMiddle English: the verb from Old French returner, from Latin re- ‘back’ + tornare ‘to turn’; the noun via Anglo-Norman French.Extra examples Ali returned triumphantly to boxing in 1970. Charlie reluctantly returned to his seat. Don’t forget to return his handkerchief. He hadn’t bothered to return her messages. He refused to return our money. Her symptoms returned periodically. His conversation returns repeatedly to the same subjects. His headache returned instantly. I couldn’t wait to return from my travels. I offered to return his Christmas gift to me. I will have to ask that you return directly to your houses. Kevin gladly returned her hug. Lack of cash forced her to return to work. Let me return briefly to this question. My strength was slowly returning to me. Our aircraft all returned safely to their bases. See that the documents are returned promptly, please. She had recently returned from Paris. She is due to return to school in a fortnight. She never returned the book to me. She quickly returned to the car and sped off. She was preparing to return to El Salvador. Suspicions were aroused when he failed to return to work on Monday morning. The asylum seekers are to be forcibly returned to their home countries. The patient subsequently returned for surgery. We locked the door in case Mary returned unexpectedly. the tears that threatened to return He finally returned with the drinks. I returned from work to find the house was empty. She’s returning to Australia tomorrow after a year in Europe. The prime minister recently returned from a summit at Camp David. They were forced to return to their country of origin.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: return