turn around

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See also: turnaround and turn-around



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turn around (plural turn arounds)

  1. Alternative spelling of turnaround


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

  1. (transitive, intransitive, reflexive) To physically rotate horizontally 360 degrees.
    Turn around once or twice so I can see your new dress.
  2. (transitive, intransitive, reflexive) To change to the opposite direction from a previous position.
    • 1756 November, Isaac Kimber, Edward Kimber, editor, The London magazine, or, Gentleman's monthly intelligencer[1], volume 25, page 517:
      ...and called him his father; this overpowered the brave man's heart, and obliged him to turn around, to prevent the tears that stood ready to gush from his eyes.
    • 2013 June 28, Joris Luyendijk, “Our banks are out of control”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 3, page 21:
      Seeing the British establishment struggle with the financial sector is like watching an alcoholic who still resists the idea that something drastic needs to happen for him to turn his life around.
    She turned her position around and now she is in favor of the merger.
  3. (transitive, intransitive, reflexive, sports) To reverse the expected outcome of a game, usually from a losing position to a winning one.
    • 2011 February 1, Phil McNulty, “Arsenal 2-1 Everton”, in BBC:
      It took changes from Wenger and a rare defensive lapse from Everton before Arsenal finally turned the game around with two goals in the space of five minutes.
    The team really turned it around in the second half for a great win.
    They were way ahead but the game turned around on them and they lost 4-3.
  4. (transitive, business, management) To reverse a trend, usually towards a more favorable outcome; to return (a business, department) to effectiveness, profitability, etc.
    The new management team has really turned the company around and they expect a good profit next year.
  5. (transitive, idiomatic, colloquial) To be duplicitous.
    You can't just turn around and say that it was all my fault.
  6. (transitive, idiomatic, of an idea) To consider from a different viewpoint.
    Let's turn that around and look at it from another angle.
  7. (transitive, idiomatic, colloquial) (often with a unit of time) To produce; to output; to generate
    We can turn around 500 units by next week.
  8. (idiomatic, buzzword, with "180 degrees") To effect a positive reversal of a trend.
    Let's turn this around 180 degrees and enjoy the rest of our vacation.
  9. (idiomatic, buzzword, with "360 degrees") To make a situation worse by trying to make it better.
    They turned it around 360 degrees and now they're losing even more money.

Usage notes[edit]

"I turned the project around 360 degrees" is belittled by prescriptivists, mathematicians and cartoonists alike. Often, the speaker intends the meaning of "180 degrees" but by evidence of their complete misunderstanding of conversational geometry, not only says the opposite, but gives listeners a good reason to believe that their intended effect did not come to pass. Instead, the situation was probably made worse; at best, one could suppose the net effect was nil, as if there truly had been a literal 360 degree rotation, exactly as the speaker said.

Derived terms[edit]


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