turn back

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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

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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Third was Gwyn Jones, Penmachno with 10 1/2 year-old who put up a smooth, flowing run where 5pts were lost up to a clean turn back, 2pts on the second fetch and 3pts on the drive.
The survey, commissioned by Lloydspharmacy to mark Diabetes Week this week, also shows that 42% of those over 40 in Yorkshire wish they could turn back the clock on their health.
One student, who wished to remain anonymous, said she tried to come to Bahrain on Friday night and yesterday morning to attend classes, but was asked to turn back.
He said some Emiratis were ordered to turn back as their passports were invalid, while some expatriates were turned back owing to expired passports or expired residency visas.
The discussion of tight turns in cramped airspace ("The Not So Tight Turn," December) raises questions about executing a turn back to the runway in the event of an engine failure on takeoff, where loss of altitude in a too-wide turn can preclude reaching the runway.
Full emergency procedures were put into action when it was decided the Thomsonfly flight to Alicante, Spain, would have to turn back because of a cracked windscreen.
The trans-atlantic Air India flight from Toronto, Canada, was forced to turn back after the package was found in a toilet on Monday night.
Passengers aboard a Northwest Airlines plane bound for Mumbai and forced to turn back to Amsterdam said air marshals swooped after 12 people began fidgeting with mobile phones and plastic bags, Dutch media said on Thursday.
IT'S time to mix the cocktails and enjoy the elegance of the 1920s as Warwickshire performers turn back the clock for a comedy classic.
UNDER-PRESSURE Saddlers boss Paul Merson wants to turn back the clock to alter his tub-thumping pre-season prediction.
An MD-11 aircraft operated by Finnair had to turn back to the Helsinki-Vantaa airport last night (11 November) due to engine problems only 20 minutes after takeoff.
A spokesperson for British Airways stated that the incident was not an emergency landing as it was 'normal procedure' to turn back if there were any problems with an aircraft.
How can I turn back toward the pearl moon punctured into the pale dusk winter blue?