See also: turnback
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- (intransitive) To reverse direction and retrace one's steps.
- Realising he had forgotten his briefcase, he turned back and re-entered the office.
- 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter III, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, OCLC 40817384:
- Turning back, then, toward the basement staircase, she began to grope her way through blinding darkness, but had taken only a few uncertain steps when, of a sudden, she stopped short and for a little stood like a stricken thing, quite motionless save that she quaked to her very marrow in the grasp of a great and enervating fear.
- (transitive) To cause to reverse direction and retrace one's steps.
- The barrage of machine-gun fire turned back the encroaching soldiers.
- To return to a previous state of being.
- He stopped drinking for a couple of years, but now he has turned back to his old ways.
- Once we take this decision, there's no turning back.
- (transitive) To prevent or refuse to allow passage or progress.
- The soldiers turned back all the refugees at the frontier.
- (transitive) To adjust to a previous setting.
- In Autumn we normally turn the clocks back one hour.
- I love that song: turn back to it!
- (transitive) To fold something back; to fold down.
- When you make the bed, please always turn the sheet back over the blanket.
- (obsolete, transitive) To give back; to return.
- In sense 3 the object is normally a person, or group of people, or means of transport. It may appear before or after the particle. If the object is a pronoun, then it must be before the particle.
- In senses 4 and 5 the object is normally a thing. It may appear before or after the particle. If the object is a pronoun, then it must be before the particle.
- (reverse direction): about turn, about face
- (fold): fold, fold back
- (prevent passage): drive away, repel, stop
to turn back, retreat — see return