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turn the/(one's) clock(s) back
To adjust the time on one's clock(s) back by one hour to account for the end of daylight saving time. Don't forget to turn your clock back tonight. I hate having to turn the clocks back every autumn, it's such an antiquated custom.
turn the/(one's) clock(s) forward
To advance the time on one's clock(s) ahead by one hour to account for the beginning of daylight saving time. Don't forget to turn your clock forward tonight or you'll end up oversleeping tomorrow! I hate having to turn the clocks forward every spring, it's such an antiquated custom.
turn the scale(s)
To change the balance of a situation, such that one side or element is favored or gains advantage. The two candidates are so close in the polls that both are vying for something that will turn the scale in their favor. The immense interconnectivity of social media has turned the scales of power somewhat back into the hands of the ordinary population.
See also: turn
turn tits up
1. mildly vulgar To break or malfunction; to die, fall apart, or cease to work. (A variant of the more common "go tits up," itself a play on the phrase "go belly up." "Tits up" is sometimes hyphenated.) Sorry Mark, I'd love to give you a lift to the airport, but my car's turned tits up on me again. It looks like our co-op might be turning tits-up if we aren't granted a licence for our communal work premises.
2. mildly vulgar By extension, to have a poor, undesired, or ruinous outcome; to fail completely or not come together at all. We were all set to have our picnic on Saturday, but the weather turned tits up, and we had to cancel at the last minute. The merger deal between the two companies turned tits-up when it came to light that one of the CEOs had been dodging tax obligations for several years.
turn a corner
To begin to find success or improvement after a particularly difficult or troubling period. I know that rehab has been hard on you, but I feel like you've been really turning a corner lately. Their new start-up took a couple of years to get going, but they finally turned a corner when their product was featured in a high-profile tech magazine.
without turning a hair
Without becoming upset, afraid, or emotional; with a perfectly calm demeanor. My father was a tough man. When our family dog came down with rabies, he took him out back and shot him without turning a hair. Claire, without turning a hair, knocked out the two assailants with her bare hands!
turn a phrase
To express something in very adept, elegant, and clever terms. Mr. Broadmoor is so cultivated and witty. Not only is he remarkably intelligent, but he is always able to turn a phrase most poignantly.
turn around (something)
To reverse the direction or course of something; to reverse the way something is facing or oriented. I swear, if you kids don't stop fighting back there, I am going to turn around this car and take us straight back home! The company is hiring a new financial consultant to turn around the sales trends of the last two years.
turn into a pumpkin
To have to return home or go to bed due to the late hour of the night. (Usually used as a present participle, the phrase is a reference to the story of Cinderella, whose magic carriage turned into a pumpkin at midnight.) I've had a wonderful time, but I'm turning into a pumpkin. I think I'll call a cab and head home.
turn (one's) coat
dated To change one's allegiance or affiliation (especially in politics) for personal gain or advantage. A good politician will espouse the most hard-line stance of his party's political ideologies, but a successful politician knows when to turn his coat.
turn (someone's) crank
To excite or arouse the interest of someone. To be honest, science never turned my crank in school. I was always more interested in literature.
turn the air blue
To use profane language, especially with great rapidity and intensity. My dad turned the air blue after he found out I'd put a dent in his car.
turn the screw(s) (on someone)
To exert excessive and coercive pressure, force, or threats of violence on someone. The bank has really started turning the screws on me ever since I began missing my mortgage payments. I'll send one of my men around to him tomorrow to start turning the screw. Then we'll see if Johnny's still so sure he won't sign the contract.
See also: turn
turn the trick
To do, accomplish, or fulfill exactly what is needed or sought after. The recipe calls for pancetta ham, but I think this regular bacon should turn the trick. The movie's plot, such as it is, won't go on to win any awards, but the gory special effects will turn the trick for any fans of the horror genre.
turn full circle
To return to the original or a similar position, situation, or circumstance where one or something started. After the banking sector brought on the economic collapse through lack of federal oversight, things seem to be turning full circle as politicians are beginning to call for deregulation of the industry once again. I used to work in in various kitchens during college to support myself, but now I've turned full circle and am the head chef of my own restaurant.
turn an honest penny
To earn money in an honorable and legitimate way, typically through one's hard work. I used to swindle people, but I turn an honest penny these days, I swear! You're 40 years old—you need to get a job and start turning an honest penny.
turn (something) to account
To gain or profit from something. I'm confident that I can turn this new invention of mine to account.
slang To perform sexual acts for money. Typically said of a prostitute. A lot of these girls are addicts who started turning tricks to get drug money.
slang In baseball, to make two outs on the same play. Another way of referring to a "double play." Did you see them turn two? What a play!
It is a long lane that has no turning.
Prov. Bad times cannot continue forever.; Things will soon improve. Nancy: It's been six months, and neither one of us can find work. I'm afraid we're going to lose everything. Bill: Don't despair, honey. It is a long lane that has no turning. Your luck has been bad for a long time, but it is a long lane that has no turning. I'm sure things will change soon.
Fig. a time when things may change; a point at which a change of course is possible or desirable. (Originally nautical. Fig. on the image of a ship approaching a point where a change of course has been planned. (*Typically: be at ~; come to ~; reach ~.) Things are at to a turning point. Bob can no longer afford the payments on his car. I think we have come to a turning point and there ought to be some improvement henceforth.
the wheels are turning
something is happening By the late 1940s the wheels were turning that would make space flight possible by the end of the 1950s.
the wheels are turning
something that you say which means a process is starting to happen By the late 1940s the wheels were turning that would make a manned space flight possible by the end of the next decade.See oil the wheels, set the wheels in motion, spin wheels
turn a hair, not
Not become afraid or upset, remain calm, as in She didn't turn a hair during the bank robbery. This term, also put as without turning a hair, comes from horse racing. After a race, a horse often has roughened, outward-turned hair. Its figurative use, nearly always in the negative, dates from the late 1800s.