turn someone's crank

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turn someone's crank

  1. (idiomatic) To arouse a person's interest or passion; to excite someone.
    • 2000 March 26, George Vecsey, "Baseball: Mets and Cubs Are Grateful McGwire Said No to Tokyo," New York Times (retrieved 16 July 2011):
      McGwire had said that international competition did not "turn my crank," but the players on the dais today seemed positively excited about the trip.
    • 2003 May 25, "The Times Bomb," Newsweek (retrieved 16 July 2011):
      But it was journalism that turned his crank. He loved knowing the secrets and the gossip; he loved trafficking in information.
    • 2007 Sept. 4, Jack Welch and Suzy Welch, "From Hero To Zero," Businessweek (retrieved 16 July 2011):
      [A]bsolutely nothing beats pursuing the path that truly fascinates your brain, engages your energy, and touches your soul. Whatever you do, do what turns your crank.
    • 2011 May 19, John Ortved, "Guys Confess Their Celebrity Crushes: Cannes Edition," www.glamour.com (retrieved 16 July 2011):
      Yet if you ask guys which Hollywood stars most turn their crank, you'd be surprised who their answers might be, and why.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Possibly based on earlier usages describing mechanical toys operated by spring mechanisms, such as:
1917, L. Frank Baum, The Lost Princess of Oz, ch. 16:
"Something animates him when you turn his crank," replied the King. "I do not know if it is life or what it is or how it happens."