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



    BrE BrE//tɜːn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//tɜːrn//
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they turn
    BrE BrE//tɜːn//
    ; NAmE NAmE//tɜːrn//
    he / she / it turns
    BrE BrE//tɜːnz//
    ; NAmE NAmE//tɜːrnz//
    past simple turned
    BrE BrE//tɜːnd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//tɜːrnd//
    past participle turned
    BrE BrE//tɜːnd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//tɜːrnd//
    -ing form turning
    BrE BrE//ˈtɜːnɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈtɜːrnɪŋ//
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    move round
  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] to move or make something move around a central point The wheels of the car began to turn. I can't get the screw to turn. turn something (+ adv./prep.) He turned the key in the lock. She turned the wheel sharply to the left.
  2. change position/direction
  3. 2  [intransitive, transitive] to move your body or part of your body so as to face or start moving in a different direction We turned and headed for home. She turned to look at me. + adv./prep. He turned back to his work. I turned away and looked out of the window. turn something (+ adv./prep.) He turned his back to the wall. She turned her head away. see also turn over
  4. 3  [transitive] turn something + adv./prep. to move something so that it is in a different position or facing a different direction She turned the chair on its side to repair it. Turn the sweater inside out before you wash it. see also turn somethingover
  5. 4  [intransitive, transitive] to change the direction you are moving or travelling in; to make something change the direction it is moving in turn (into something) He turned into a narrow street. turn something The man turned the corner and disappeared. turn something into something I turned the car into the car park.
  6. 5  [intransitive] (+ adv./prep.) (of a road or river) to curve in a particular direction The road turns to the left after the church. The river turns north at this point.
  7. aim/point
  8. 6[transitive, intransitive] to aim or point something in a particular direction turn something (on/to somebody/something/yourself) Police turned water cannon on the rioters. He turned the gun on himself. She looked at him then turned her attention back to me. turn to somebody/something/yourself His thoughts turned to his dead wife.
  9. of tide in sea
  10. 7[intransitive] to start to come in or go out The tide is turning—we'd better get back.
  11. let somebody/something go
  12. 8[transitive] to make or let somebody/something go into a particular place or state turn something + adv./prep. They turned the horse into the field. turn something + adj. to turn the dogs loose
  13. fold
  14. 9[transitive] turn something + adv./prep. to fold something in a particular way She turned down the blankets and climbed into bed. He turned up the collar of his coat and hurried out into the rain.
  15. cartwheel/somersault
  16. 10[transitive, no passive] turn something to perform a movement by moving your body in a circle to turn cartwheels/somersaults
  17. page
  18. 11  [transitive, intransitive] if you turn a page of a book or magazine, you move it so that you can read the next page turn something He sat turning the pages idly. turn to something Turn to p.23.
  19. game
  20. 12[intransitive, transitive] turn (something) (around) if a game turns or somebody turns it, it changes the way it is developing so that a different person or team starts to win
  21. become
  22. 13  linking verb to change into a particular state or condition; to make something do this + adj. The leaves were turning brown. The weather has turned cold. He turned nasty when we refused to give him the money. He decided to turn professional. turn something + adj. The heat turned the milk sour. + noun She turned a deathly shade of white when she heard the news. He's a lawyer turned politician (= he used to be a lawyer but is now a politician). Which Word?become / get / go / turnThese verbs are used frequently with the following adjectives: become involved/​clear/​accustomed/​pregnant/​extinct/​famous/​ill get used to/​better/​worse/​pregnant/​tired/​angry/​dark go wrong/​right/​bad/​white/​crazy/​bald/​blind turn blue/​sour/​bad/​red/​cold Become is more formal than get. Both describe changes in people’s emotional or physical state, or natural or social changes. Go is usually used for negative changes. Go and turn are both used for changes of colour. Turn is also used for changes in the weather.
  23. age/time
  24. 14linking verb (not used in the progressive tenses) + noun to reach or pass a particular age or time She turns 21 in June. It's turned midnight.
  25. stomach
  26. 15[intransitive, transitive] turn (your stomach) when your stomach turns or something turns your stomach, you feel as though you will vomit
  27. wood
  28. 16[transitive] turn something to shape something on a lathe to turn a chair leg turned boxes and bowls
  29. Word OriginOld English tyrnan, turnian (verb), from Latin tornare, from tornus ‘lathe’, from Greek tornos ‘lathe, circular movement’; probably reinforced in Middle English by Old French turner. The noun (Middle English) is partly from Anglo-Norman French tourn, partly from the verb.Extra examples He’s a lawyer turned politician. They say her hair turned white overnight. to turn blue/​red/​white to turn cold/​warm/​chilly to turn nasty/​mean/​sour/​bad Anne flushed and turned her head away. Don’t turn your anger on the children. He claimed that his disturbed childhood had turned him into a criminal. He tried to forget the events of past few days and turned his thoughts to practical tasks. He turned left into a narrow street. His beloved father had turned into a tyrant. I managed to turn the whole thing into a joke. Lee turned to face her. Many supporters are now turning their criticism on the manager. She looked at him, then turned her attention back to me. She turned the meeting into a public relations exercise. She turned the steering wheel as far as it would go. The blades of the helicopter were turning slowly. The leaves gradually turn from green to orange. The natural sugars turn into alcohol during brewing. The ordeal she had expected had turned into fun. The problem turned into an advantage. The slight drizzle turned into a downpour. There are plans to turn the old station into a hotel. What began as a minor disagreement has turned into a major crisis. While his back was turned I sneaked a look at his notes. With a wave of her wand, she turned him into a frog.Idioms Most idioms containing turn are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms, for example not turn a hair is at hair. 
    as it/things turned out
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    as was shown or proved by later events I didn't need my umbrella, as it turned out (= because it didn't rain).
    be well, badly, etc. turned out
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    to be well, badly, etc. dressed
    turn round/around and do something
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    (informal) used to report what somebody says or does, when this is surprising or annoying How could she turn round and say that, after all I've done for her?
    Phrasal Verbsturn against somebodyturn somebodyaway (from something)turn backturn down somebodyturn somethingdownturn inturn somebodyinturn somethinginturn in on yourselfturn (from something) into somethingturn somebody into somethingturn offturn offturn somebodyoffturn somethingoffturn on somebodyturn on somethingturn somebodyonturn somebody on (to something)turn somethingonturn outturn out somebodyturn somebody outturn somethingoutturn overturn over somethingturn somethingoverturn somebodyover to somebodyturn somethingover to somebodyturn somethingover to somethingturn roundturn roundturn to somebodyturn upturn somethingup
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: turn