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1. To rotate. The Earth turns around on an axis, which gives us our nights and days.
2. To revolve around (something). The Earth turns around the Sun, which gives us our seasons.
3. To cause someone or something to rotate in one or more circles. A noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "around." I'll put this blindfold on you and turn you around, and then you try to hit the piñata with this stick. He turned the dial around until the tumblers of the lock clicked into place.
4. To rotate until oriented in the opposite direction. I turned around very quickly, certain I had heard someone say my name. The police car turned around and began pursuing the van that ran the red light.
5. To turn something so that the other side of it is now visible. A noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "around." I turned the frame around and realized that it had a special engraving on it. Let's turn the sign around so people won't see what it says.
6. To reverse the direction or course of someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "around." I swear, if you kids don't stop fighting back there, I am going to turn this car around and take us straight back home!
7. To improve in some way, especially after a poor performance. The playoffs start in a month—that doesn't leave much timefor thing to turn around. Is it true that the company's sales turned around this quarter?
8. To cause someone or something to begin being successful or favorable after a period of decline. A noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "around." The new VP of Marketing really turned around the company. We're hoping to turn our luck around with a win this Saturday.
9. To do something suddenly that is unexpected and often undesired. I was expecting a slap on the wrist or something for making such an inappropriate joke, but then they turned around and fired me! I was so shaken after she turned around and blamed me for what had happened.
10. To prepare something that has been used by someone else so that it is ready for the next person or people. A noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "around." The wait staff here is encouraged to turn around the tables as quickly as possible for new customers. The plane has arrived, but the airport staff has to turn it around before they'll let us aboard.
11. To complete expected or necessary work on something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "around." The guy who's resoling my shoes said that he can turn them around in a few days. They're expecting us to turn around each design in a day or two. That's just not feasible!
12. To alter, distort, or misrepresent the intended meaning of something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "around." No, that's not what I meant—stop turning my words around like that! You can't just turn the author's words around to fit the agenda of your essay. I think her husband is turning her thoughts around and undermining her confidence in what she's seeing.
13. To make someone confused, disoriented, or lost. A noun or pronoun can be used between "turn" and "around." Often used in passive constructions. Those winding trails can really turn you around if you're not careful, especially when it starts getting dark. I got really turned around in the middle of my speech. I must have sounded absolutely ridiculous to everyone listening.
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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
turn something aroundand turn something about
to reverse the direction of something; to cause something to face the opposite direction. Turn the car around and head it in the other direction. If you turn the chair around, we can see one another while we talk.
turn aroundand turn about
to reverse direction; to face the opposite direction or turn completely. The bus turned around and went the other way. Please turn around so I can see who you are.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Reverse the direction or course of something or someone, as in He has a way of turning around a failing business, or If someone doesn't turn him around he's headed for trouble. [Late 1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To cause something to reverse direction or course: The driver turned the car around. The child turned around the bike.
2. To reverse one's way, course, or direction: We turned around and headed back home.
3. To reverse a decline in performance, value, or health: The stock turned around.
4. To cause something to reverse a decline in performance, value, or health: The new owner turned around the company. The counselor turned our marriage around.
5. To receive, process, and send something out: If you drop off your dry cleaning today, we can turn it around by Monday. The bank will turn around the check quickly.
6. To distort the purpose, intention, or content of something: Stop turning my words around! They turned around my ideas so that I didn't even recognize them.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
turn aroundand turn over
in. [for something] to undergo a major, dynamic change. When life turned over and things went more smoothly, Frank was happier.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.