Definitions

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

  • intransitive verb To cause to move around an axis or center; cause to rotate or revolve.
  • intransitive verb To cause to move around in order to achieve a result, such as opening, closing, tightening, or loosening.
  • intransitive verb To alter or control the functioning of (a mechanical device, for example) by the use of a rotating or similar movement.
  • intransitive verb To perform or accomplish by rotating or revolving.
  • intransitive verb To change the position of so that the underside becomes the upper side.
  • intransitive verb To spade or plow (soil) to bring the undersoil to the surface.
  • intransitive verb To reverse and resew the material of (a collar, for example).
  • intransitive verb To revolve in the mind; meditate on; ponder.
  • intransitive verb To give a rounded form to (wood, for example) by rotating against a cutting tool.
  • intransitive verb To give a rounded shape to (clay, for example) by rotating and shaping with the hands or tools.
  • intransitive verb To give a rounded form to.
  • intransitive verb To give distinctive, artistic, or graceful form to.
  • intransitive verb To change the position of by traversing an arc of a circle; pivot.
  • intransitive verb To present in a specified direction by rotating or pivoting.
  • intransitive verb To cause (a scale) to move up or down so as to register weight.
  • intransitive verb To fold, bend, or twist (something).
  • intransitive verb To change the position or disposition of by folding, bending, or twisting.
  • intransitive verb To make a bend or curve in.
  • intransitive verb To blunt or dull (the edge of a cutting instrument).
  • intransitive verb To injure by twisting.
  • intransitive verb To upset or make nauseated.
  • intransitive verb To change the direction or course of.
  • intransitive verb To divert or deflect.
  • intransitive verb To reverse the course of; cause to retreat.
  • intransitive verb To make a course around or about.
  • intransitive verb To reach and pass (a specified age).
  • intransitive verb To change the purpose, intention, or content of by persuasion or influence.
  • intransitive verb To change the order or disposition of; unsettle.
  • intransitive verb To aim or focus.
  • intransitive verb To devote or apply (oneself, for example) to something.
  • intransitive verb To cause to act or go against; make antagonistic.
  • intransitive verb To cause to go in a specific direction; direct.
  • intransitive verb To send, drive, or let go.
  • intransitive verb To pour, let fall, or otherwise release (contents) from or into a receptacle.
  • intransitive verb To cause to take on a specified character, nature, identity, or appearance; change or transform. Used with to or into.
  • intransitive verb To affect or change the color of.
  • intransitive verb To make sour; ferment.
  • intransitive verb To exchange; convert. Used with to or into.
  • intransitive verb To keep in circulation; sell and restock.
  • intransitive verb To make use of.
  • intransitive verb To get by buying and selling.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English turnen, from Old English turnian, tyrnan and Old French torner, both from Latin tornāre, to turn in a lathe, from tornus, lathe, from Greek tornos; see terə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English turnen, from Old English turnian, tyrnan ("to turn, rotate, revolve") and Old French torner ("to turn"), both from Latin tornāre ("to round off, turn in a lathe"), from tornus ("lathe"), from Ancient Greek τόρνος (tórnos, "a tool used for making circles"), from Proto-Indo-European *tere-, *ter-, *trē- (“to rub, rub by turning, turn, twist, bore”). Cognate with Old English þrāwan ("to turn, twist, wind"). More at throw.

Examples

Comments

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  • To spoil, as in meat. "I slaughtered this horse last Tuesday. I'm 'fraid she's startin' to turn."

    July 25, 2007

  • In spy lingo, to cause an agent to become a double agent.

    August 26, 2009

  • "46. To hang, as a criminal; hence, with humorous allusion to the “noose,” to put through the marriage ceremony; marry."

    --Century Dictionary

    December 24, 2010