turn back

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turn (one's) back

1. Literally, to turn so that one is facing away (from someone or something). Now, turn your back to the camera and look over shoulder. Great, perfect! Elise turned her back and pouted over not being allowed to buy the doll she wanted.
2. To ignore, abandon, or disregard (someone or something). Thousands of employees have been laid off during the financial crisis, and the government has just turned its back to them, as usual. Don't turn your back on your country and your culture—they're important parts of who you are.
See also: back, turn

turn back

1. To stop moving forward and begin returning to one's point of origin. I think we should turn back—we could be in serious trouble if the weather gets any worse while we're up here. I started walking over to Jennifer to ask her to prom, but I lost my nerve and turned back.
2. To reverse or undo one's course of action. This tax reform bill will fundamentally change the landscape of the economy—if it passes, there's no turning back. After massive protests across every branch of the company, the CEO turned back from his decision to cut employee benefits.
3. To cause someone to stop moving forward and begin returning to their point of origin. A noun or pronoun They turned me back at the door because they said I wasn't dressed formally enough for the gala. Agents at the border began turning back anyone attempting to enter the country.
See also: back, turn
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

turn someone or something back

to cause someone or something to stop and go back; to cause someone or something to retreat. The border guards turned us back because we had no passports. They turned back the bus because the bridge was down.
See also: back, turn

turn back (from some place)

to stop one's journey and return. We turned back from the amusement park so we could go home and get the tickets we had forgotten. We turned back at the last minute.
See also: back, turn

turn one's back

 (on someone or something)
1. Lit. to turn one's body so that one's back faces someone or something. I turned my back on the dead horse and walked slowly away. I turned my back on the shouting man and left the room.
2. Fig. to abandon or ignore someone or something. Don't turn your back on your old friends. Bob has a tendency to turn his back on serious problems. This matter needs your attention. Please don't just turn your back.
See also: back, turn
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

turn back

1. Reverse one's direction, as in We had to turn back earlier than expected. [First half of 1500s]
2. Drive someone back or away, as in They turned back anyone who didn't have an invitation, or Our forces soon turned back the enemy. [First half of 1500s]
3. Fold down, as in Turn back the page you're on to keep your place in the magazine. [Second half of 1800s] Also see turn one's back on.
See also: back, turn
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.

turn back

1. To abandon one's way, course, or direction and return: The road became too muddy, and we had to turn back. Once you sign the contract, you cannot turn back.
2. To force someone or something to stop and go back: Our surprise attack turned back the advancing army. The police turned us back at the border because we forgot our passports.
3. To fold something down: Turn back the page's corner to save your place in the book. The tailor turned the edge of the fabric back and made a hem.
See also: back, turn
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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
These buses can turn back at appropriate stations, in order to reduce running time.
"Sagging therefore occurs, leading to an older appearance." Turn back time: "Gradual, steady weight loss is more beneficial for health, for a longer and more active life and for better skin," advises Dr Lowe.
In addition to connecting children with nature, Turn Back Time has been awarded a mini-grant from Fallon Community Health Plan to promote healthy living for all members of the family.
Foreign-backed groups seek to turn back the clock," the U.S.
The desire to turn back seems built in and it is up to the instructor to remove the built-in bias.
First was E Wyn Edwards, Ruthin with four year-old Cap who, with a smooth, steady run, lost only 1pt off the first outrun, a clean lift and fetch and pts off the turn back with another 2pts off the drive.
The Thomson Boeing 757, heading for Cardiff International Airport, was forced to turn back and make an emergency landing in Alicante.
The burly Irishman's latest TV venture sees him inviting celebrity guests to join him on his new chat show Turn Back Time.
On Sunday (9 October) a Helios Airways flight travelling from Cyprus to Glasgow, UK, was forced to turn back after experiencing technical problems.
At a get-together with 10 Islamic leaders in Cologne, he stressed their responsibility in the formation of the younger generation, particularly in how that would "turn back the wave of cruel fanaticism that endangers the lives of so many people and hinders progress to world peace." At the same time, Benedict said Christians and Muslims "must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other's identity."
As we push through the drifts of sand and start to climb the mountain, we turn back to marvel at the angry beauty of Iceland.
If it's not done soon, there will be no turning back, and nothing to turn back to!
Such grace and mercy are offered here, as God promises to restore a nation that has turned away from God, if only they will repent and turn back to God.
Russian customs officials are reportedly asking Finnish trucks to turn back at the Finnish-Russian border in Lapland by saying that the trucks would be denied entry unless they have valid travel permits for 2004.