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turn - definition and synonyms

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verb     turn pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
present tense
present participleturning
past tenseturned
past participleturned
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to change the position of your body or head so that you are facing in a different direction

    She turned and smiled at me.

    He turned his head and looked around the room.

    turn away:

    Lopez just glared at the other man and then turned away.

    turn over:

    I put the blanket over my head, turned over, and went to sleep.

    turn around:

    The girls in front turned around and grinned.

    turn back:

    He turned back just in time to see her disappearing around the corner.

    turn someone/something away (from someone/something):

    She turned her face away, desperate to avoid his kiss.

    turn to do something:

    The whole audience turned to stare at the latecomers.

    turn to:

    Maria turned to the reporters and said: “I’m innocent.”

    turn something toward something /someone:

    The rescued men turned their heads toward the ocean and thought of their lost comrades.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to change the position of something so that it is pointing in a different direction
      turn something around:

      Turn your chairs around so you’re facing me.

      turn something on someone/something:

      The attacker killed three people before turning the gun on himself.

      turn something over:

      Turn the tape over and pressPlay.”

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to change the direction in which you are moving or traveling
    turn around/toward/into etc.:

    We turned into our driveway, glad to get home.

    The truck turned around and came back toward us.

    turn left/right:

    Follow this path; then turn right and walk uphill.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to make something change the direction in which it is moving
      turn something around/toward/into etc.:

      He turned the car in the direction of the city.

      They ordered the pilot to turn the plane around.

    2. b.
      [intransitive] if a road or river turns, it bends and goes in a different direction

      The road turns to follow the cliffs at the little village of Croton.

      Here the road turns sharply to the right.

    3. c.
      [intransitive] if the tide turns, it moves in the opposite direction
  3. 3
    [intransitive] to make a circular movement

    I heard the key turn in the lock.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to make something move in a circle

      Turning this wheel will start the machine.

  4. 4
    [linking verb] to change and do or become something else
    turn ugly/nasty/violent:

    The game turned ugly in the final minutes, when two players were ejected for fighting.

    turn cold/chilly:

    The weather turned quite chilly in the afternoon.

    turn professional:

    Duval turned professional in 1993.

    turn informant/killer:

    She was betrayed by a childhood friend who turned government informant.

    1. a.
      to change and become another color

      The leaves turn bright red in autumn.

  5. 5
    [linking verb] to become a particular age or a particular time

    He turned 40 in March.

    Synonyms and related words
  6. 6
    [transitive] if you turn the page of a book or magazine, you move it in order to read a different page
  7. 7
    [intransitive/transitive] if your stomach turns, or if something turns your stomach, you feel as if food in your stomach is going to come out through your mouth
  8. 8
    [intransitive] if milk turns, it becomes sour
  9. 9
    [intransitive/transitive] mainly journalism if someone turns a game or a fight, or if it turns, it starts to develop in a different way
  10. 10
    [transitive] to give a particular shape to a piece of wood or metal using a lathe
    Synonyms and related words
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