From Middle English cherne, chrine, chyrne, *kyrne ( > Scots kirn), from Old English ċyrn, ċyrin, ċirin (“a churn”), from Proto-Germanic *kernǭ (“churn”), of unknown origin. Cognate with West Frisian tsjerne, Dutch karn, Walloon serene, German Karn, Kirne, Danish kjærne, Swedish kärna, Icelandic kirna (“a churn”).
churn (third-person singular simple present churns, present participle churning, simple past and past participle churned)
- (transitive) To agitate rapidly and repetitively, or to stir with a rowing or rocking motion; generally applies to liquids, notably cream.
- Now the cream is churned to make butter.
- Churned in his teeth, the foamy venom rose.
- (transitive, figuratively) To produce excessive and sometimes undesirable or unproductive activity or motion.
2012 August 28, John Branch, “Snow Fall : The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek”, in New York Time:
- The slope of the terrain, shaped like a funnel, squeezed the growing swell of churning snow into a steep, twisting gorge.
- (intransitive) To move rapidly and repetitively with a rocking motion; to tumble, mix or shake.
- I was so nervous my stomach was churning.
- (informal, travel, aviation) (in a booking system) to repeatedly cancel and rebook a reservation in order to refresh ticket time limits or other fare rule restrictions.
figuratively: produce excessive motion
churn (plural churns)
- A vessel used for churning.
- a butter churn
- (telecommunications) The time when a consumer switches his/her service provider.
- (telecommunications) The mass of people who are ready to switch carriers, expressed by the formula Customer Quits/Customer base.
time when customer switches provider
people ready to switch carrier