The DICT Development Group
2 definitions found
for To turn the back
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :
Turn \Turn\ (t[^u]rn), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Turned (t[^u]rnd);
p. pr. & vb. n. Turning.] [OE. turnen, tournen, OF.
tourner, torner, turner, F. tourner, LL. tornare, fr. L.
tornare to turn in a lathe, to round off, fr. tornus a lathe,
Gr. to`rnos a turner's chisel, a carpenter's tool for drawing
circles; probably akin to E. throw. See Throw, and cf.
Attorney, Return, Tornado, Tour, Tournament.]
1. To cause to move upon a center, or as if upon a center; to
give circular motion to; to cause to revolve; to cause to
move round, either partially, wholly, or repeatedly; to
make to change position so as to present other sides in
given directions; to make to face otherwise; as, to turn a
wheel or a spindle; to turn the body or the head.
Turn the adamantine spindle round. --Milton.
The monarch turns him to his royal guest. --Pope.
2. To cause to present a different side uppermost or outmost;
to make the upper side the lower, or the inside to be the
outside of; to reverse the position of; as, to turn a box
or a board; to turn a coat.
3. To give another direction, tendency, or inclination to; to
direct otherwise; to deflect; to incline differently; --
used both literally and figuratively; as, to turn the eyes
to the heavens; to turn a horse from the road, or a ship
from her course; to turn the attention to or from
something. "Expert when to advance, or stand, or, turn the
sway of battle." --Milton.
Thrice I deluded her, and turned to sport
Her importunity. --Milton.
My thoughts are turned on peace. --Addison.
4. To change from a given use or office; to divert, as to
another purpose or end; to transfer; to use or employ; to
apply; to devote.
Therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto
David. --1 Chron. x.
God will make these evils the occasion of a greater
good, by turning them to advantage in this world.
When the passage is open, land will be turned most
to cattle; when shut, to sheep. --Sir W.
5. To change the form, quality, aspect, or effect of; to
alter; to metamorphose; to convert; to transform; -- often
with to or into before the word denoting the effect or
product of the change; as, to turn a worm into a winged
insect; to turn green to blue; to turn prose into verse;
to turn a Whig to a Tory, or a Hindu to a Christian; to
turn good to evil, and the like.
The Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have
compassion upon thee. --Deut. xxx.
And David said, O Lord, I pray thee, turn the
counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. --2 Sam. xv.
Impatience turns an ague into a fever. --Jer.
6. To form in a lathe; to shape or fashion (anything) by
applying a cutting tool to it while revolving; as, to turn
the legs of stools or tables; to turn ivory or metal.
I had rather hear a brazen canstick turned. --Shak.
7. Hence, to give form to; to shape; to mold; to put in
proper condition; to adapt. "The poet's pen turns them to
His limbs how turned, how broad his shoulders spread
He was perfectly well turned for trade. --Addison.
(a) To translate; to construe; as, to turn the Iliad.
Who turns a Persian tale for half a crown.
(b) To make acid or sour; to ferment; to curdle, etc.: as,
to turn cider or wine; electricity turns milk quickly.
(c) To sicken; to nauseate; as, an emetic turns one's
9. To make a turn about or around (something); to go or pass
around by turning; as, to turn a corner.
The ranges are not high or steep, and one can turn a
kopje instead of cutting or tunneling through it.
To be turned of, to be advanced beyond; as, to be turned of
To turn a cold shoulder to, to treat with neglect or
To turn a corner,
(a) to go round a corner.
(b) [Fig.] To advance beyond a difficult stage in a
project, or in life.
To turn adrift, to cast off, to cease to care for.
To turn a flange (Mech.), to form a flange on, as around a
metal sheet or boiler plate, by stretching, bending, and
hammering, or rolling the metal.
To turn against.
(a) To direct against; as, to turn one's arguments against
(b) To make unfavorable or hostile to; as, to turn one's
friends against him.
To turn a hostile army, To turn the enemy's flank, or the
like (Mil.), to pass round it, and take a position behind
it or upon its side.
To turn a penny, or To turn an honest penny, to make a
small profit by trade, or the like.
To turn around one's finger, to have complete control of
the will and actions of; to be able to influence at
To turn aside, to avert.
To turn away.
(a) To dismiss from service; to discard; as, to turn away
(b) To avert; as, to turn away wrath or evil.
To turn back.
(a) To give back; to return.
We turn not back the silks upon the merchants,
When we have soiled them. --Shak.
(b) To cause to return or retrace one's steps; hence, to
drive away; to repel. --Shak.
To turn down.
(a) To fold or double down.
(b) To turn over so as to conceal the face of; as, to turn
(c) To lower, or reduce in size, by turning a valve,
stopcock, or the like; as, turn down the lights.
To turn in.
(a) To fold or double under; as, to turn in the edge of
(b) To direct inwards; as, to turn the toes in when
(c) To contribute; to deliver up; as, he turned in a large
To turn in the mind, to revolve, ponder, or meditate upon;
-- with about, over, etc. " Turn these ideas about in your
mind." --I. Watts.
To turn off.
(a) To dismiss contemptuously; as, to turn off a sycophant
or a parasite.
(b) To give over; to reduce.
(c) To divert; to deflect; as, to turn off the thoughts
from serious subjects; to turn off a joke.
(d) To accomplish; to perform, as work.
(e) (Mech.) To remove, as a surface, by the process of
turning; to reduce in size by turning.
(f) To shut off, as a fluid, by means of a valve,
stopcock, or other device; to stop the passage of; as,
to turn off the water or the gas.
To turn one's coat, to change one's uniform or colors; to
go over to the opposite party.
To turn one's goods or To turn one's money, and the like,
to exchange in the course of trade; to keep in lively
exchange or circulation; to gain or increase in trade.
To turn one's hand to, to adapt or apply one's self to; to
To turn out.
(a) To drive out; to expel; as, to turn a family out of
doors; to turn a man out of office.
I'll turn you out of my kingdom. -- Shak.
(b) to put to pasture, as cattle or horses.
(c) To produce, as the result of labor, or any process of
manufacture; to furnish in a completed state.
(d) To reverse, as a pocket, bag, etc., so as to bring the
inside to the outside; hence, to produce.
(e) To cause to cease, or to put out, by turning a
stopcock, valve, or the like; as, to turn out the
To turn over.
(a) To change or reverse the position of; to overset; to
overturn; to cause to roll over.
(b) To transfer; as, to turn over business to another
(c) To read or examine, as a book, while, turning the
leaves. "We turned o'er many books together." --Shak.
(d) To handle in business; to do business to the amount
of; as, he turns over millions a year. [Colloq.]
To turn over a new leaf. See under Leaf.
To turn tail, to run away; to retreat ignominiously.
To turn the back, to flee; to retreat.
To turn the back on or
To turn the back upon, to treat with contempt; to reject or
To turn the corner, to pass the critical stage; to get by
the worst point; hence, to begin to improve, or to
To turn the die or To turn the dice, to change fortune.
To turn the edge of or To turn the point of, to bend over
the edge or point of so as to make dull; to blunt.
To turn the head of or To turn the brain of, to make
giddy, wild, insane, or the like; to infatuate; to
overthrow the reason or judgment of; as, a little success
turned his head.
To turn the scale or To turn the balance, to change the
preponderance; to decide or determine something doubtful;
to tip the balance.
To turn the stomach of, to nauseate; to sicken.
To turn the tables, to reverse the chances or conditions of
success or superiority; to give the advantage to the
person or side previously at a disadvantage.
To turn tippet, to make a change. [Obs.] --B. Jonson.
To turn to profit, To turn to advantage, etc., to make
profitable or advantageous.
To turn turtle, to capsize bottom upward; -- said of a
vessel. [Naut. slang]
To turn under (Agric.), to put, as soil, manure, etc.,
underneath from the surface by plowing, digging, or the
To turn up.
(a) To turn so as to bring the bottom side on top; as, to
turn up the trump.
(b) To bring from beneath to the surface, as in plowing,
(c) To give an upward curve to; to tilt; as, to turn up
To turn upon, to retort; to throw back; as, to turn the
arguments of an opponent upon himself.
To turn upside down, to confuse by putting things awry; to
throw into disorder.
This house is turned upside down since Robin Ostler
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :
Back \Back\ (b[a^]k), n. [AS. b[ae]c, bac; akin to Icel., Sw., &
LG. bak, Dan. bag; cf. OHG. bahho ham, Skr. bhaj to turn,
OSlav. b[=e]g[u^] flight. Cf. Bacon.]
1. In human beings, the hinder part of the body, extending
from the neck to the end of the spine; in other animals,
that part of the body which corresponds most nearly to
such part of a human being; as, the back of a horse, fish,
2. An extended upper part, as of a mountain or ridge.
[The mountains] their broad bare backs upheave
Into the clouds. --Milton.
3. The outward or upper part of a thing, as opposed to the
inner or lower part; as, the back of the hand, the back of
the foot, the back of a hand rail.
Methought Love pitying me, when he saw this,
Gave me your hands, the backs and palms to kiss.
4. The part opposed to the front; the hinder or rear part of
a thing; as, the back of a book; the back of an army; the
back of a chimney.
5. The part opposite to, or most remote from, that which
fronts the speaker or actor; or the part out of sight, or
not generally seen; as, the back of an island, of a hill,
or of a village.
6. The part of a cutting tool on the opposite side from its
edge; as, the back of a knife, or of a saw.
7. A support or resource in reserve.
Should have a back or second, that might hold,
If this should blast in proof. --Shak.
8. (Naut.) The keel and keelson of a ship.
9. (Mining) The upper part of a lode, or the roof of a
horizontal underground passage.
10. A garment for the back; hence, clothing. [Obs.]
A bak to walken inne by daylight. --Chaucer.
Behind one's back, when one is absent; without one's
knowledge; as, to ridicule a person behind his back.
Full back, Half back, Quarter back (Football), players
stationed behind those in the front line.
To be on one's back or To lie on one's back, to be
To put one's back up or to get one's back up, to assume
an attitude of obstinate resistance (from the action of a
cat when attacked). [Colloq.]
To see the back of, to get rid of.
To turn the back, to go away; to flee.
To turn the back on one, to forsake or neglect him.
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