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See also: u-turn


A car making a U-turn.

Alternative forms[edit]


U + turn, from the similarity to the shape of the letter U.


  • (file)


U-turn (plural U-turns)

  1. (literally) A turn in a vehicle carried out by driving in a semicircle in order to travel in the opposite direction.
  2. (figuratively) A reversal of policy; an about-face, a backflip.
    The government have done a U-turn and are now supporting greater European integration instead of opposing it.
    • 2023 October 10, Senay Boztas, “Frans Timmermans urges European left to unite against right’s climate backlash”, in The Guardian[1], →ISSN:
      Rishi Sunak, the UK prime minister, announced a major U-turn on the government’s climate commitments last month, pushing back the deadline for selling new petrol and diesel cars and the phasing out of gas boilers.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Often used in the phrases do a U-turn or make a U-turn.


  • uey (colloquial)


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U-turn (third-person singular simple present U-turns, present participle U-turning, simple past and past participle U-turned)

  1. To turn a vehicle in a semicircle so as to face the opposite direction.
  2. (intransitive) To shift from one opinion or decision to its opposite.
    • 2022 October 5, Rowena Mason, “Liz Truss promises ‘growth, growth and growth’ in protest-hit speech”, in The Guardian[2]:
      She made the case for cutting taxes as “the right thing to do morally and economically”, despite having just U-turned over her decision to abolish the 45p top rate of income tax.


See also[edit]