turn out

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See also: turnout and turn-out



From Middle English turnen out, tornen out, equivalent to turn +‎ out.

The slang and prison terms meaning "to turn into a prostitute, etc." are probably an ellipsis for turn (inside) out (to flip someone's character or role).


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

  1. (intransitive, idiomatic, copulative) To end up; to result.
    I had hoped our first meeting would turn out better.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter I, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC, page 2:
      He used to drop into my chambers once in a while to smoke, and was first-rate company. When I gave a dinner there was generally a cover laid for him. I liked the man for his own sake, and even had he promised to turn out a celebrity it would have had no weight with me.
    • 2019 April 28, Alex McLevy, “Game Of Thrones Suffers the Fog of War in the Battle against the Dead (Newbies)”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 31 May 2021:
      The thing we’ll all remember is Arya Stark, Supreme Badass Of The Seven Kingdoms. Not Jon Snow, not Daenerys, but the pint-size warrior who spends the first part of the fight just annihilating White Walkers one after the other, then turns out to be the one who deals the killing blow to the Night King.
  2. (intransitive, by ellipsis) To succeed; work out; turn out well.
    I'm afraid the cake didn't turn out.
  3. (intransitive, idiomatic) To attend; show up.
    Hundreds of people turned out to see the parade.
    • 1944 January and February, W. McGowan Gradon, “Forres as a Railway Centre”, in Railway Magazine, page 23:
      The train is usually crowded and half the township of Forres seems to turn out to watch it go off.
  4. (intransitive, dated) To go out; to leave one's home.
    • 1953, Samuel Beckett, Watt, Olympia Press:
      But then one of Mr. Knott's men would have had to put on his coat and hat and turn out, as likely as not in the pitch dark, and in torrents of rain in all probability, and grope his way in the dark in the pours of rain, with the pot of food in his hand, a wretched and ridiculous figure, to where the dog lay.
  5. (transitive, idiomatic) To extinguish a light or other device
    Turn out the lights before you leave.
    • 1854, Dickens, chapter 11, in Hard Times:
      The day grew strong, and showed itself outside, even against the flaming lights within. The lights were turned out, and the work went on.
  6. (intransitive, idiomatic) To become apparent or known, especially (as) it turns out
    It turns out that he just made a lucky guess.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 19, in The China Governess[2]:
      As soon as Julia returned with a constable, Timothy, who was on the point of exhaustion, prepared to give over to him gratefully. The newcomer turned out to be a powerful youngster, fully trained and eager to help, and he stripped off his tunic at once.
    • 2012 September 15, Amy Lawrence, “Arsenal's Gervinho enjoys the joy of six against lowly Southampton”, in the Guardian:
      The Ivorian is a player with such a liking for improvisation it does not usually look like he has any more idea than anyone else what he is going to do next, so it was an interesting choice. As it turned out, it was a masterstroke. The striker was full of running, played with a more direct shoot-on-sight approach than normal and finished with two goals and an assist.
  7. (transitive, idiomatic) To produce; make.
    The bakery turns out three hundred pies each day.
    • 1942 February, O. S. Nock, “The Locomotives of Sir Nigel Gresley: Part VII”, in Railway Magazine, page 44:
      This new locomotive was turned out of Doncaster works in May, 1934, to a mighty fanfare of trumpets.
  8. (intransitive) To leave a road.
    Turn out at the third driveway.
  9. (transitive) To remove from a mould, bowl etc.
    Turn out the dough onto a board and shape it.
  10. (transitive) To empty for inspection.
    Please turn out your pockets.
    The security guard asked everyone to turn out their bags.
  11. (transitive, idiomatic) To refuse service or shelter; to eject or evict.
    The hotel staff hastened to turn out the noisy drunk.
    The poor family were turned out of their lodgings at only an hour's notice.
    • 1998, Jonathan Langley, Collins Bedtime Treasury of Nursery Rhymes and Tales, Mary Had a Little Lamb, page 39:
      And so the teacher turned it out
      But still it lingered near,
      And waited patiently about
      Till Mary did appear.
  12. (sex, transitive, slang) To convince a person (usually a woman) to become a prostitute.
    • 2008, Carolyn Maloney, Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated:
      He then turned her out onto the streets of Chicago with a quota to meet: $500 for a night's work.
    • 2008, Joseph B. Haggerty, Sr., Shame: The Story of a Pimp, page 361:
      Like I told you, I'm still turning this one bitch out. [] Sunday is three days away, if you ain't turned her out by then she ain't worth it.
    • 2012, Eyes . . . JB, If I Should Die Tonight: The Untold Stories, page 18:
      The nigga that turned her out was named Derek “Sweets” D. I despised that pimping motherfucker with passion.
  13. (sex, transitive, prison slang) To rape; to coerce an otherwise heterosexual individual into performing a homosexual role.
  14. (transitive) To put (cattle) out to pasture.
  15. (transitive) To convince to vote
    turn out potential voters
  16. (intransitive) To leave one's work to take part in a strike.
  17. (intransitive, colloquial) To get out of bed; get up.


See also[edit]