from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To go or come back, as to an earlier condition or place.
  • intransitive verb To revert in speech, thought, or practice.
  • intransitive verb To revert to a former owner.
  • intransitive verb To answer or respond.
  • intransitive verb To send, put, or carry back.
  • intransitive verb To give or send back in reciprocation.
  • intransitive verb To give back to the owner.
  • intransitive verb To reflect or send back.
  • intransitive verb To produce or yield (profit or interest) as a payment for labor, investment, or expenditure.
  • intransitive verb To submit (an official report, for example) to a judge or other person in authority.
  • intransitive verb To render or deliver (a writ or verdict, for example) to the proper officer or court of law.
  • intransitive verb To elect or reelect, as to a legislative body.
  • intransitive verb Games To respond to (a partner's lead) by leading the same suit in cards.
  • intransitive verb Architecture To turn away from or place at an angle to the previous line of direction.
  • intransitive verb Sports To hit or send back (a tennis ball, for example) to one's opponent.
  • intransitive verb Football To run with (the ball) after a kickoff, punt, interception, or fumble.
  • noun The act or condition of going, coming, bringing, or sending back.
  • noun The act of bringing or sending something back to a previous place, condition, or owner.
  • noun Something brought or sent back.
  • noun Merchandise returned, as to a retailer by a consumer or to a wholesaler by a retailer.
  • noun Something that goes or comes back.
  • noun A recurrence, as of a periodic occasion or event.
  • noun Something exchanged for that received; repayment.
  • noun A reply; a response.
  • noun The profit made on an exchange of goods.
  • noun A profit or yield, as from labor or investments.
  • noun Output or yield per unit rather than cost per unit, as in the manufacturing of a particular product.
  • noun A report, list, or set of statistics, especially one that is formal or official.
  • noun A report on the vote in an election.
  • noun Chiefly British An election.
  • noun Games A lead in certain card games that responds to the lead of one's partner.
  • noun Sports In tennis and certain other sports.
  • noun The act of hitting or sending the ball back to one's opponent.
  • noun The ball thus sent back.
  • noun The act of running back the ball after a kickoff, punt, interception, or fumble.
  • noun The yardage so gained.
  • noun The extension of a molding, projection, or other part at an angle (usually 90°) to the main part.
  • noun A part of a building set at an angle to the façade.
  • noun A turn, bend, or similar reversal of direction, as in a stream or road.
  • noun A pipe or conduit for carrying something, especially water, back to its starting point.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English retornen, from Old French retourner, from Vulgar Latin *retornāre : Latin re-, re- + Latin tornāre, to turn in a lathe; see turn.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English returnen, retornen, from Anglo-Norman returner, from Old French retourner, retorner, from Medieval Latin retornare ("to turn back"), from re- + tornare ("to turn"). Compare beturn.


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  • Indeed, she can make us no adequate return, but to allow me to return -- the only _return_

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  • Why, I beg to know, cannot Mr. De Berenger go to Lord Yarmouth or any other nobleman or gentleman in the dress in which he waits upon Lord Cochrane? if he was dressed as Lord Cochrane describes, there could be no impropriety; but still more, "_or return to his lodging, where it would excite suspicion_," _coming out_ of his lodging in this dress might to be sure excite suspicion, for persons who saw him might imagine that a gentleman thus dressed was going a little beyond the rules of the King's Bench, but how could his _return_ excite suspicion?

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