turn the tables


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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
References in periodicals archive ?
Friday, the Angels (49-45) erased a 5-0 deficit and appeared poised to turn the tables.
The JetHawks appeared to be poised to turn the tables, but a standout performance from starting pitcher Phil Stockman was wasted by a poor outing from the bullpen and some sloppy defense in a 5-3 loss to the Stockton Ports in front of 616 at Billy Hebert Field.
The only event that could turn the tables is the advent of a SERM drug with a much stronger estrogenic action exclusively on bone, and such a molecule is not very likely to be found.
We'd like to turn the tables and be the individuals for a change that are on top of the activity in a series, and find themselves with more of the command than fighting from behind.
Help America Turn the Tables," the advertisement builds on calls from President Bush, New York Mayor Giuliani and other national, state and local leaders for all Americans to dine in restaurants as a way to boost and maintain the economy.
More distracting, when Hansel and Gretel turn the tables on the Witch, the triumphant serenade of newly liberated children, performed by the Los Angeles Children's Chorus, was faint to the point of being inaudible, leaving at least this viewer's heartstrings unplucked.
Early segment topics will include how to turn the tables on telemarketers, the summer Olympics, what people really earn, and September cover subject actress Kirsten Dunst.
And when you turn the tables on the 51-year-old Thompson, you quickly understand why he's been chosen by his peers as the best in the state at what he does.
Wouldn't it be fun to turn the tables on the Joker and make him take orders?
Triumph is best known for his shameless schmoozing with guests on Late Night, showering them with compliments only to turn the tables with his trademark punchline for me to poop on