Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
1. To regain consciousness. After Lily fainted, we used smelling salts to get her to come to. The patient wasn't sure where he was when he came to in the emergency room.
2. To be called to one's mind. Give me a minute, that song will come to me. Why do the best ideas always come to me in the shower when I can't write them down?
3. To reach a conclusion of some kind, such as a decision. How did you come to this decision? Tell me your thought process.
4. To arrive at or visit a particular place. I came to this city because it's home to such beautiful architecture. I'll come to your house tonight and drop off your cake pan.
5. To reach a particular sum, as of a bill. Your total comes to $47.80.
6. To have a particular impact, result, or consequence. I hope my lies don't come to any consequence. That meeting nearly came to blows after the fiery testimony.
7. To be revealed or exposed. This meaning is often conveyed through the phrase "come to light." Discrepancies in the yearly budget report only came to light after the auditors began analyzing it. These incriminating documents came to light because of a whistleblower's tireless efforts.
8. To resume acting or feeling as one normally does. In this usage, a reflexive pronoun is used after "to." I was starting to get disoriented after being awake for 36 hours straight, but I came to myself after a good night's rest.
9. To anchor a ship. We'll come to in this port for now and regroup.
10. To position a ship with its bow in the wind. The ship needs to come to so that we can visit the port.
come to something
to end up being helpful or significant. (See also amount to something; when it comes to something.) Do you think this work will come to anything? I don't think this will come to what we were promised.
to become conscious; to wake up. We threw a little cold water in his face, and he came to immediately.
come to oneself
to begin acting and thinking like one's normal self. I began to come to myself and realize the wrong I had done. Please come to yourself and stop acting so strangely.
1. Recover consciousness, as in She fainted but quickly came to. [Second half of 1500s]
2. Arrive at, learn, as in I came to see that Tom had been right all along. [c. 1700]
3. See amount to, def. 2.
4. See when it comes to.
5. Stop a sailboat or other vessel by bringing the bow into the wind or dropping anchor, as in "The gale having gone over, we came to" (Richard Dana, Two Years Before the Mast, 1840). [Early 1700s] Also see the subsequent entries beginning with come to.
1. To arrive at a place: We came to this city looking for a new life.
2. To come to the mind of someone; occur to someone: An interesting idea just came to me.
3. To have some sum as a total: The bill for dinner came to $40.
4. To arrive at some final state; amount to something: What will these strange events come to? So far, my miserable life has come to nothing.
5. To recover consciousness: The fainting victim came to.
6. Nautical To bring the bow into the wind: We should stop right here, so come to and we'll let the sails luff.
7. Nautical To anchor: We came to in the cove and spent the night there.
To be clearly revealed or disclosed: "A further problem ... came to light last summer as a result of post-flight inspections" (John Noble Wilford).