Definition of churn in English:

churn

noun

  • 1A machine for making butter by shaking milk or cream.

    • ‘The Country Living-themed event at St Mary's Church, Sand Hutton, will include a pig farm, country kitchen window, milk churns and butter churns.’
    • ‘Occasionally, when there's an abundance of milk, Janet will make butter and cheese by traditional methods using an old, hand-turned butter churn, and her daughter produces free-range bacon.’
    • ‘In the center of the room stands an enormous stainless steel churn, a giant horizontal spatula on wheels to remove the butter from the churn, and a boat, or trough, into which the spatula unloads its haul.’
    • ‘Mr Stone said the 38 cm metal disc was originally attached to the largest type of butter churn made by the company, which was built specifically for the large-scale production of butter.’
    • ‘It was said that to take a coal from the fire in the house in which a churn was being made was very unlucky for the maker of the butter.’
    • ‘There's also a table with three skinny legs and a lidded jar with a thick, straight, vertical handle that rises up like the rod of a butter churn.’
    • ‘Even better, through development work on the continuous butter churn, Tong and his team of food scientists propose the production of a butter that has a reduced fat content.’
    • ‘Jackie thought that was a mug's game, but was happy to separate the cream from the milk (by hand), and make butter in a wooden churn.’
    • ‘An old woman covered her bare shoulders with a woollen shawl as Estelle struggled with the butter churn by the doorway.’
    • ‘Her dress was very stately; it was mostly off-white silk, like the color of buttery cream in a churn.’
    • ‘It was also usual, although not very popular, for the one who was last downstairs to have to turn the churn handle until the cream turned into butter.’
    • ‘When I was small I had the job of watching the little circular window on the lid of the churn and had to shout when the glass became clear, an indication that the butter had separated.’
    • ‘He has created a motorised butter churn which is an ordinary churn with an engine from a lawn mower attached underneath.’
    • ‘She is a perfect mountain woman, shrewd and suspicious, quick to laugh or scowl, handy with a butter churn or a folk remedy.’
    • ‘They found him out back, banging on a butter churn, watched by unimpressed cows.’
    • ‘Some of them saw us and paused at their chores, resting behind their ploughs or looking up from butter churns and gardens.’
    • ‘Mothers made butter from milk, they mixed the milk in a butter churn.’
    • ‘Since about 1870, they had been in the business of manufacturing churns, butter molds, scales, thermometers, and other tools used in dairying.’
    • ‘The farmer agreed to do this and started churning again the next morning, in no time at all there was enough butter in the churn to supply half the countryside.’
    • ‘We are one of only two remaining manufacturers in North America still using a butter churn in the making of buttermilk.’
    blender, food processor, liquidizer, stirrer, beater, churn, whisk
    View synonyms
  • 2British A large metal container for milk:

    ‘the fresh creamy milk sat in a churn in the kitchen’
    ‘a milk churn’
    • ‘Cosgrove's father had been a lorry driver for the local creamery, driving milk churns round the houses and farms in Perthshire.’
    • ‘The folk culture of the North British backcountry, translated to the Appalachian highlands of America, held that it was unlucky to wash a milk churn.’
    • ‘The farmers would bring their milk in churns, and the system was that the Department of Agriculture bought it from the farmers, and then they sold it to us.’
    • ‘I started when I was nine years old going round with my father with a horse and float with milk churns.’
    • ‘Hoops of plant stems woven and placed under milk storage jugs, pails and churns would prevent milk being spirited away by fairies.’
    • ‘In the early days farmers would bring their churn of milk to the creamery by whatever means was available to them, horse and cart, donkey and cart or tractor and trailer.’
    • ‘When he had finished, he poured the milk into the big churns and washed the buckets.’
    • ‘In those days his dad and uncle Derek ran their business from Moorhouse Farm, delivering the milk from churns carried on horse-drawn floats with wooden wheels.’
    • ‘They were fortunate to have the milk lorry pass by the farm gate, so one of the lads would help the driver to lift the churns up onto the lorry each morning, earlier on a Sunday so that the driver could finish a bit earlier.’
    • ‘The milk was offered from a metal churn and the ladles hung from it.’
    • ‘Since returning to his plot in October his hut has been burnt down and he has lost tools, milk churns and chicken feed totalling well over £100.’
    • ‘I can still hear the clang of the milk churns as they were dropped at the back door and smell the scent of sweet, evocative vanilla and hot milk that wafted up to my room.’
    • ‘In addition to the pre-war team groups, the paper often featured old pictures of the town - horse drawn carts, rattling with milk churns, wending their way down foggy, gas-lit streets and the like.’
    • ‘Milk churns and dairymaids are making a comeback on a Sheffield housing estate where South Yorkshire's first urban dairy will start producing cheese commercially next month.’
    • ‘Hathaway milk churns were made from wood, and were fitted with a trademark red iron plate.’
  • 3

    short for churn rate

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Shake (milk or cream) in a machine in order to produce butter:

    ‘the cream is ripened before it is churned’
    • ‘If the gold ore is not refined one will not obtain the pure gold, if the milk is not churned one will not obtain butter, and if the sesame seed is not pounded one will not produce sesame oil.’
    • ‘The butter plant primarily churns cream and packages butter.’
    • ‘Besides milking a cow and separating off the cream, that cream has to be churned for quite a while at the right temperature, washed and salted and moulded until it's just right.’
    • ‘Suzanne makes sure that the equipment is all sprayed down, and Alastair churns the cream until it turns into butter.’
    • ‘The sample of the sound of milk being churned into butter takes on an eerie sound that is more like a pack of marching troopers than a regular act of rural domesticity.’
    • ‘When this milk was churned, the concentration of pesticides increased; that might be the butter you spread on toast.’
    • ‘The organic butter you buy in the grocery store is usually made from mechanically churned cream.’
    • ‘This milk was separated into cream, being churned into butter and the skin being returned to suppliers for animal feeding.’
    • ‘Our flour comes in the shape of a loaf, our milk churned into butter/cheese.’
    stir, agitate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Produce (butter) by churning milk or cream:
      ‘the women were churning butter and making cheese’
      • ‘His mother always made homemade bread and churned butter, and she preserved jams and a myriad of fruits and vegetables for savoring through the year.’
      • ‘They were also expected to wash milk-pots and churn butter.’
      • ‘Women habitually baked bread, churned butter, brewed beer, sewed clothes, knitted stockings, spun yarn, and even sometimes milled flour and wove cloth.’
      • ‘Women churned butter, baked potato bread and poured Irish coffees.’
      • ‘She slowly gained the stamina needed for the intensely hard work of milking and churning butter.’
      • ‘‘There's something I'm good at,’ I muttered, thinking of the fine, silky butter I would churn.’
      • ‘Butter and cheese were being churned and sold on the streets, while a pig on a barbecue created a mouth-watering aroma that drifted through the town.’
      • ‘An old woman churns butter, while a woman in the foreground prepares a fowl for roasting.’
      • ‘It turns out they actually live like that: their jobs are building barns and churning butter and having little card tables at farmer's markets.’
      • ‘Sometimes she churned fresh butter and traded it.’
      • ‘Little Samuel was sitting on the front porch churning butter.’
      • ‘While children on the frontier learned how to milk cows and churn butter, parents learned how wise 12-year-olds can be.’
      • ‘It has its own salmon-smoking oven and churns its own butter.’
      • ‘I shall just have to sit and churn butter and weave my own clothing like they did in the old days.’
      • ‘The rest of the afternoon was spent picking tomatoes, churning butter, washing dishes, serving, cleaning the stables and just having fun.’
      • ‘The buttermaker then drains the buttermilk off and continues churning the butter until it reaches the right texture and firmness.’
      • ‘A full slate of activities also is planned, including butter churning, ice cream making and ice cream eating contests.’
      • ‘Yet Ann kept up the old tradition of churning butter.’
      • ‘She was raised on a rustic Tyrolian farm where she learned to churn butter, bake bread, and store provisions for winter.’
      • ‘McDermott was the lady who churned the butter at Rathscanlon.’
  • 2(with reference to liquid) move or cause to move about vigorously:

    [no object] ‘the seas churned’
    figurative ‘her stomach was churning at the thought of the ordeal’
    [with object] ‘in high winds most of the loch is churned up’
    • ‘The sea was churning - almost as much as her stomach was, in nervousness.’
    • ‘As we approach, the wide, steady river narrows and churns.’
    • ‘A blue substance churns and drips through a tube from one chamber to another.’
    • ‘At times strong head-winds whipped up high waves that churned the lake surface into a frenzy, making it difficult to paddle.’
    • ‘It churned up the sea even more, and beat the yellow rain macs of the fishermen tying down tarpaulins.’
    • ‘It all sounds static, but there is a great deal of emotion churning beneath the surface.’
    • ‘Through the window we watched the brown sea churning beneath the pier.’
    • ‘There were eight pools of waste water, in which purplish-reddish liquid was churning.’
    • ‘His hands were quivering, and his stomach felt as though it were churning and moving.’
    • ‘Pour in the liquid and churn until it starts to thicken and freeze.’
    • ‘Slightly off-centre, a constant whirlpool swirls and churns turbulently, sometimes spitting up a boiling fount.’
    • ‘As the gap between the enormous hull and the quayside grew the water churned.’
    • ‘I write this my stomach is churning a little with tension, remembering how it felt.’
    • ‘While the mixture churns, whiz the strawberries to a purée in a food processor.’
    • ‘Hopefully, if my views help make your mind churn, that adds spice to your life as well.’
    • ‘They hissed and roared, churning the very sea in their great battle.’
    • ‘Karen's stomach churns every time she takes visitors to the river.’
    • ‘The gray green water behind her thrashed and churned.’
    • ‘The mantle churns as hotter material moves outward from Earth's core and colder material sinks back down, a process called thermal convection.’
    • ‘I nodded slowly, feeling liquids inside my head churn roughly.’
    disturb, stir up, agitate
    be turbulent, heave, boil, swirl, toss, seethe, foam, froth
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Break up the surface of (an area of ground):
      ‘the earth had been churned up where vehicles had passed through’
      • ‘Huge earth moving machines continue to churn the ground beneath the pig farm, 18 miles east of Vancouver, in the search of more evidence.’
      • ‘The whole of the Market Place has been revamped at vast expense and if it were churned up now it would be quite appalling.’
      • ‘The shelling churned the landscape into a sea of mud and craters.’
      • ‘Mr Langton said: ‘The weather is so bad at the moment that if we try to move the car, it will churn the field up and make a real mess of the pitch.’’
      • ‘Residents have complained that cars and vans have been used in races around the playing fields, churning up the grass.’
      • ‘Furious park users claim that a popular beauty spot has been churned up by speeding quad bikes.’
      • ‘Eventually, we did go off-road as the tarmac gave out and the dirt track became increasingly churned up.’
      • ‘Road safety markings in the shape of dinosaur footprints that were painted on a dangerous crossing to help children get to and from school have been churned up by workmen weeks after they were installed.’
      • ‘Elsewhere there are places where thoughtless mountain bike and motorbike riders have churned up paths.’
      • ‘The town council chairman said the grass outside the school was being churned up by tyres.’
      • ‘Turbulent tides have churned up the sea bed, disturbing rocks and natural debris such as drift wood.’
      • ‘She aimed her rifle at the ground, fired off a spray that churned the earth.’
      • ‘But the land was churned up by riders and followers of the Bedale Hunt in pursuit of a fox last Saturday.’
      • ‘Just a few weeks after the green was opened, youths on motorbikes churned up the grass, and, in one week alone, the council was forced to fork out more than £1,000 to repair damage.’
      • ‘All that is gone now due to a few selfish bikers who rip round all over the field, taking a delight in churning every path up and making walking a very dangerous occupation.’
      • ‘By then the Allied armies had advanced about ten miles and the Somme battlefield had been churned, like that of Verdun, into a featureless lunar landscape.’
      • ‘The field has been ruined, the grass has been churned up into mud, there are piles of rubbish everywhere and it's not even been bagged.’
      • ‘About 30 boulders have been mounted on the grass verge in Wilcot Avenue to stop motorists churning up the ground.’
      • ‘He added grass verges in the area were churned up and were disgusting and wanted to know what Colchester Council was spending taxpayers' money on.’
      • ‘Between January and March games are always called off because mud has been churned up.’
  • 3(of a broker) encourage frequent turnover of (investments) in order to generate commission:

    ‘these brokers churn the client's portfolio to generate an income for themselves’
    • ‘The broker appears to have churned the account and Donald let him do so.’
    • ‘M&B is churning its estate as it attempts to concentrate on larger sites that make more money from selling food than from beer sales.’
    • ‘One dealer said the volume was mostly churned by traders employed by brokerage houses, with most retail investors still on the sidelines.’
    • ‘There seems to be no end of brokers appearing in the press and on TV these days telling us we need to churn our portfolios more often.’
    • ‘It was the kind of fairy tale brokers tell their clients while churning their accounts.’
    • ‘This is unlike other funds which churn their portfolio in a never-ending search for hot stocks.’
    • ‘Managers may churn their accounts to generate more soft dollars in order to buy services such as stock research.’
    • ‘He then churned the Estate account by selling perfectly reasonable shares to pay for this ill-conceived investment.’
    • ‘And because they churn their portfolios almost by the minute, their trading volumes move markets.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • churn something out

    • Produce something mechanically and in large quantities:

      ‘artists continued to churn out uninteresting works’
      • ‘You can take your camera and one of these little machines to parties and churn out snapshots on the spot.’
      • ‘‘The EU is churning this legislation out like mad,’ he said.’
      • ‘They know there's going to be a high demand for them, so they churn them out using shoddy materials.’
      • ‘Back in Tulsa, the John Pickle Company's factory still churns out pressure vessels, many of which sit rusting near the factory gates.’
      • ‘The possibilities range from injecting genes to implanting tiny machines that would churn out the necessary proteins nonstop.’
      • ‘As if there was a factory churning them out around the corner, they kept multiplying.’
      • ‘Clothes were genuinely brighter in the 1960s because the development of synthetic fabrics and cheap dyeing processes meant that manufacturers could churn them out in whatever colours they wanted.’
      • ‘This may not be the book that puts her on the bestseller list, but it's proof that she can churn them out.’
      • ‘Mr. Zanussi says that the Hollywood machine churns out films that exploit the debasing tendencies of man like sex and violence.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, there is a vast industry churning out forged documents.’
      • ‘Between 1942 and '45, a total of 93 ships were churned out here - roughly one every three weeks.’
      • ‘A year ago, it seemed LCD manufacturers couldn't churn the products out fast enough.’
      • ‘Far too often today historical works are churned out in unreadable academic jargon.’
      • ‘The tiny country of less than 500,000 people had a gross domestic product of $US1.85 billion in 2001 and churns out 350,000 barrels of oil a day.’
      • ‘Even as new applications are churned out, old ones need maintaining and even newer ones developing.’
      • ‘He adds: ‘The war was this great machine which churned out dead bodies.’’
      • ‘And the young people being churned out of our schools have no jobs.’
      • ‘Asset-price inflation may be rampant but the price of goods in the shops is falling as China continues to churn them out at an increasing rate.’
      • ‘This is some of the worst television to have ever been made - and they've been churning it out for over a decade.’
      • ‘These machines churn out umpteen cubic feet of carbon monoxide, polluting the atmosphere and killing more life forms than a few million smokers could ever do.’
      produce, make, turn out
      crank out, bang out
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English cyrin, of Germanic origin; related to Middle Low German kerne and Old Norse kirna.

Pronunciation

churn

/tʃəːn/