turn the tables


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

turn the tables

To change or reverse something dramatically. Wow, they really turned the tables on their opponents after the intermission. The score went from 0-3 to 5-3!
See also: table, turn

turn the tables (on someone)

Fig. to cause a reversal in someone's plans; to make one's plans turn back on one. I went to Jane's house to help get ready for a surprise party for Bob. It turned out that the surprise party was for me! Jane really turned the tables on me! Turning the tables like that requires a lot of planning and a lot of secrecy.
See also: table, turn

turn the tables

Reverse a situation and gain the upper hand, as in Steffi won their previous three matches but today Mary turned the tables and prevailed. This expression alludes to the former practice of reversing the table or board in games such as chess, thereby switching the opponents' positions. [c. 1600]
See also: table, turn

turn the tables

COMMON If you turn the tables, you gain an advantage over someone or cause them problems, after a time when they have had an advantage over you or have been causing problems for you. The Prime Minister will want to turn the tables on his many enemies in the republics and give them something to worry about for a change. We managed to turn the tables with a fantastic win over their team. Note: You can also say the tables are turned if a situation changes so that a different person or group has an advantage. All of a sudden the tables are turned, and instead of being the person watching, he becomes the person that's being watched. Note: The image here is of a player in a game such as chess turning the board through 180 degrees, so that the situations of the two players are reversed.
See also: table, turn

turn the tables

reverse your position relative to someone else, especially by turning a position of disadvantage into one of advantage.
Until the mid 18th century, tables was the usual name for the board game backgammon. Early instances of the use of this phrase, dating from the mid 17th century, make it clear that it comes from the practice of turning the board so that a player had to play what had previously been their opponent's position.
See also: table, turn

turn the ˈtables (on somebody)

do something which means that you now have an advantage over somebody who previously had an advantage over you: They beat us 3-0 last year, but we turned the tables on them this year — we won 5-0.
If two people are playing a board game on a table and then one of them turns the table around, the two players will exchange positions in the game so that the person who was losing will now be winning.
See also: table, turn

turn the tables, to

To reverse the situation between two persons or groups, especially so as to gain the upper hand. This term comes from the custom of reversing the table or board in games like chess and draughts, so that the opponents’ relative positions are switched. It was being used figuratively as long ago as 1612, when George Chapman wrote (The Widow’s Tears, 1.3), “I may turn the tables with you ere long.” Another cliché with the same meaning is turnabout is fair play, which dates from the nineteenth century. Robert Louis Stevenson used it in one of his last works, The Wrecker (1892): “You had your chance then; seems to me it’s mine now. Turn about’s fair play.”
See also: turn
References in periodicals archive ?
Midfielder Hendrie said: 'It would turn the tables on Birmingham if we nicked the last UEFA Cup place.
ACTOR Johnny Depp stepped behind the camera to turn the tables on the paparazzi while shooting his latest movie.
He takes her to a shack in the outback to break her down, but without his usual back-up team he is overwhelmed by his attraction to Ruth, and she uses her sexual power to turn the tables so she can dominate and control him.
Fresh off back-to-back runner-up efforts, this Mutakddim filly endured a wide trip last out from post nine, but moves to the rail today and can turn the tables on her rivals.
He added: "We get the horses that ran against them in England coming back to try and turn the tables on them, that is what creates the buzz."
HALKYN had to come from 2-0 behind at the break to turn the tables in this thrilling match, which had been switched to Ruthin as the Pant Newydd Pitch was waterlogged.
A PROFESSOR says pupils should turn the tables on teachers and give them report cards.
Tak's Wish Race 9 Turfway Fresh off back-to-back runner-up efforts, this Mutakddim filly endured a wide trip last out from post nine, but moves to the rail today and can turn the tables on her rivals.
After conceding two goals in the first 20 minutes, theHall hit back to turn the tables in sparkling style through Rachel Turvey,Nicola Gelder,Kelly Jones,Sarah Mealor and Jenny Jones.
VERDICT This 2m61/2f handicap is going to be a real slog, which should turn the tables in favour of Delray Beach, who has 18lb less to carry through the mud than Pay Attention.
OTTO REHHAGEL and his men are confident they can cause a second upset and turn the tables on Spain after being lifted by Saturday's sensational win against hosts Portugal.
However, Kaleo, who finished a length back in third that day, was repeatedly denied a clear run in the straight and may be able to turn the tables on Global Dream.
IT'S a leap year this Sunday, which give all the girls the opportunity to turn the tables and propose to their man.
Lalfinn (7.55) Jumped quickly and accurately when runner-up to Daniels Hymn at Fairyhouse last time and a similar performance could see him turn the tables on that rival.
Despite initially coming second to Eminem's single, Stan, Bob looks set to turn the tables on his rival.