Definition of return in US English:



  • 1no object Come or go back to a place or person.

    ‘he returned to Canada in the fall’
    • ‘When he returned to the living area, his three crewmates had already returned.’
    • ‘The car returned in the direction it had come, back towards Cassais.’
    • ‘Sloan dropped Elena off at home and then returned home himself.’
    • ‘Every Saturday she returned to the same bench with his lunch, waiting for him to return.’
    • ‘She went to the kitchen and returned with a basket full of food.’
    • ‘A group of ducks were bobbing off to the right, dipping their heads beneath the surface and returning seconds later, with beads of water rolling off their waxy feathers.’
    • ‘When Katherine returned home she was greeted by her brother in the hallway.’
    • ‘She was in service and was employed at the Ashcroft Academy, a school for young gentlemen at Wentworth, where she stayed throughout the week returning home each weekend to be with her family.’
    • ‘A decade later he returns, this time to the small Wiltshire village of Longbridge Deverill.’
    • ‘China successfully completed its manned space flight as Yang safely returned to earth.’
    • ‘We forget that, in music, there are some people who are just great and worth returning to.’
    • ‘The band returned to Seattle because Geffen asked them to, so of course I happily returned with them.’
    • ‘They had gone out to eat, and had just returned back to their hotel.’
    • ‘Almost everyone had a family member or friend who had migrated and returned or continued to live abroad.’
    • ‘Sonia headed for the shore but returned to the boat when she realised that the others were not following.’
    • ‘The waitress returned to their table with their orders, but the food was left unnoticed.’
    • ‘Meursault simply returns to his desk and continues to work after the discussion.’
    • ‘I returned to Europe in 1977 and did not work in Africa again until ten years later.’
    • ‘Later he joined the Royal Navy but he was discharged and so returned to Scotland to resume his studies.’
    • ‘He moved there initially for a year on an exchange with a German university, with the intention of returning to the UK.’
    go back, come back, get back, arrive back, arrive home, come home, come again
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    1. 1.1return to Go back to (a particular state or activity)
      ‘Ollie had returned to full health’
      • ‘As the series opens, Megan is returning to work after six months off following the death of her husband.’
      • ‘After years of experience in the workplace, returning to education was an exciting and stimulating prospect.’
      • ‘Instead of returning to the Irish rock scene, he resolved to pursue his musical ambitions in a more low-key way.’
      • ‘A waitress mopped up the water, then returned to work because the restaurant was busy.’
      • ‘So Aileen returns to her old trade, which spirals into violence and tragedy.’
      • ‘He returns to flying and a glorious career as a fighter pilot.’
      • ‘After Alexis' illness passed our lives returned to normal and continued in the same way.’
      • ‘She found that returning to her first love, the circus, was like a breath of fresh air.’
      • ‘I now have hopes for Nickelodeon to return to something like the glory it enjoyed during my childhood.’
      • ‘Fortune only recently returned to action after 10 months off course because of a serious back problem.’
      • ‘Morley had only just returned to action after 10 weeks out following back surgery.’
    2. 1.2return to Turn one's attention back to (something)
      ‘he returned to his newspaper’
      • ‘Throughout, he returns to the question: why did he stay to the bitter end?’
      • ‘It unnerved me momentarily, but when I became aware of her attention returning to her work I cast my gaze back towards her.’
      • ‘He subsequently returned to this theme in two interviews published while war was still ongoing.’
      • ‘Time and time again, Stoppard's script returns to the nature of identity and how we understand the world.’
      • ‘Day-Lewis often returns to the notion of play when talking about his work.’
      • ‘Rebecca and Lydia continued talking, going off on random tangents and never returning to the main subject.’
      • ‘He gives up on that train of thought, and unexpectedly returns to a much earlier one, about which he seems to have changed his mind.’
      • ‘I turned to face him again, my attention returning to him in an instant at the challenge.’
      • ‘A year later Plath returns to the theme in Three Women, a poem for three voices written originally for radio.’
      • ‘This was fascinating stuff but we returned to our beer so as not to disturb their mating ritual.’
      • ‘Yet Hollywood returns to the theme of spiders every ten years or so in its endless recycling of material to try and sell films.’
      • ‘His attention quickly returned to the mission as the communications officer called to him.’
    3. 1.3 (especially of a feeling) come back or recur after a period of absence.
      ‘her appetite had returned’
      • ‘Her breathing returned to normal and she started to feel strength returning.’
      • ‘Chastity sighed in relief, but fear quickly returned when she noticed the forest was no longer bright and magical, but dark and eerie.’
      • ‘The familiar feelings of longing returned, and his heart ached for her.’
      • ‘I was almost happy as the familiar hot feeling of anger returned in me like a long lost companion.’
      • ‘I felt so unsatisfied and the empty feeling returned, nagging at me.’
      • ‘Confidence returned, convincing buyers not to delay buying.’
      • ‘I hoped I could do well at the match, though my doubts were returning again.’
      • ‘Words had yet to be spoken, and Katherine found her apprehension returning in the silence.’
      • ‘Adriana's sadness had returned, the sadness that had come like a recurring ache ever since she had left the Sila.’
      • ‘The feeling returned, of perseverance to love him forevermore.’
      • ‘She felt her acute fear of heights returning as the path became less smooth and considerably steeper and narrower.’
      • ‘As he and his wife stuffed me with food, passed me a hot-water bottle and tucked me in, confidence returned.’
      • ‘As we walked out of the park, I felt a bit of my strength and joy returning.’
      • ‘The cold, eerie feeling returned, and her voice trailed off.’
      • ‘LaCienega gulped, but the girl's bravery returned when she saw her friend's smile.’
      • ‘Now an all too common feeling of claustrophobic despair had returned.’
      • ‘Soon, however, Altair began humming, his usual cheery mood returning.’
      • ‘Now, upon seeing her again, that uneasy feeling had returned.’
      • ‘She had never danced before, and all her feelings of awkwardness returned.’
      • ‘He left the room and I lay back as the dizzy feeling returned.’
      happen again, recur, reoccur, occur again, be repeated, repeat, repeat itself, come round, come round again
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  • 2with object Give, put, or send (something) back to a place or person.

    ‘complete the application form and return it to this address’
    • ‘Had he returned the money, who would have argued with him staying on?’
    • ‘The stone statue of King Shalmaneser III, from the 9th century BC, was returned in four pieces.’
    • ‘I found myself in the library the following morning returning the books I had thoroughly sifted through.’
    • ‘At this point, the files are commonly scanned into a digital file, but sometimes are returned as hard copy by overnight delivery.’
    • ‘After extensive testing and no further symptoms I returned the computer to my client's home.’
    • ‘Entries will be returned only if accompanied by a large, self-addressed, stamped envelope.’
    • ‘The essay was returned to him with the comment that he wasn't dyslexic, he was just lazy.’
    • ‘He returns the computer to the store, and exchanges it for another one.’
    • ‘Like every date on the tour, when we caught consecutive shows in Memphis and Atlanta, they were sold out, despite some fans having returned their tickets in protest.’
    • ‘‘Your passport should have a minimum of six months validity’ she said returning his ticket and passport.’
    • ‘He explained to his clients that he could find nothing worth buying at the time - and returned their money.’
    • ‘The United States agreed to return the Canal Zone to Panama in 1979.’
    • ‘Maya nodded and returned the book to the bookshelf nearby.’
    • ‘Opening the mailbox showed thousands of emails all having been returned as delivery failure.’
    • ‘Signora Zarini is offering a huge reward for anyone who returns the Flame Diamond to her.’
    • ‘They returned the manuscripts without any significant changes or suggestions.’
    • ‘Companies have a social responsibility to return something to society.’
    • ‘And since then, apart from a furious row by phone during which each bitterly agreed to return the other's gift, they have not spoken.’
    • ‘In the first wave of surveys, 941 were returned, for a response rate of 17 percent.’
    • ‘Patrice returns the tissue to Mary - their tears now blended into the same cloth.’
    give back, send back, hand back, take back, carry back
    restore, put back, replace, reinstate, reinstall
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    1. 2.1 Feel, say, or do (the same feeling, action, etc.) in response.
      ‘she returned his kiss’
      • ‘He brushed a kiss over Piper's lips which wasn't returned, but he didn't notice.’
      • ‘Wishing for no more tidal waves in the stormy emotional ocean of the day, Shey returned her mother's overly sympathetic smile.’
      • ‘I needed for her to know her love was being returned.’
      • ‘A smile is returned with a smile and eyes that brim with gratitude for this small gesture.’
      • ‘Brit managed a weak smile in Toby's direction, which he returned in equal measures of relief that he wouldn't be alone and dejection that he'd be without the rest of us.’
      • ‘Her heart began to ice over for the second time because she had fallen in love again and the person she loved had not returned her feelings.’
      • ‘He gave us his most valuable possessions, these swords, and we have never returned the favor.’
      • ‘When she didn't answer he looked at her until she returned his gaze.’
      • ‘McDonald's didn't return repeated phone calls for this article.’
      • ‘To my great annoyance, Theodore actually strolled up and returned Cindy's greeting while introducing Jay as well.’
      • ‘It was then that I realized that he might actually return your feelings for him.’
      • ‘She gave a small smile to her friends who returned the very smile with large grins that told her she had received going away presents.’
      • ‘The waiter returned the smile and fetched the beers.’
      • ‘You know how is it like to love someone and not have your feelings returned but you still love that person no matter what.’
      • ‘Nikolas simply stared at her and she returned his stare tenfold until finally she stood up.’
      • ‘Kat turned to him to see that he was giving her a faint smile, which she returned a second later.’
      • ‘Mommy and daddy will always love you and we hope that you can return the feeling.’
      • ‘He had liked Kara since they were young, but knew that Kara had never returned his feelings and was content to be her friend.’
      • ‘It broke her heart to slowly realize that even though she loved Bryan, he would never return those feelings for her.’
      • ‘I can certainly identify with the disbelief that one's love can be returned.’
      reciprocate, requite, feel in return, give in return, repay, give in response, send in response, give back
      answer, reply, respond, say in response
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    2. 2.2 (in tennis and other sports) hit or send (the ball) back to an opponent.
      • ‘If you missed returning the ball, you were disqualified.’
      • ‘Her sister returned the good serve and Lori immediately got it over the net.’
      • ‘Jiro was serving really well and did a pretty good job returning Steven's serves.’
      • ‘Batters have three separate ways to return the ball into play.’
      • ‘The left analogue stick moves your player from left to right and beyond the table - heated rallies often saw us returning the ball from half way across the room.’
      • ‘He loves tennis ‘because I know that on the court there will always be someone to return the ball to me.’’
      • ‘I'll bet a thousand bucks that you can't even return Steven's serve.’
      hit back, send back
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    3. 2.3American Football Run upfield with the ball after fielding (a kick), intercepting (a pass), or recovering (a fumble).
      • ‘He returned kicks and caught passes and ran the ball - he did everything in that game.’
      • ‘He was intercepted by former teammate Ty Law, who returned the pass for a touchdown to even the score 7 - 7 in the first quarter.’
    4. 2.4 (of a judge or jury) state or present (a verdict) in response to a formal request.
      • ‘When the jury returned a large judgment against him, State Farm at first refused to pay but eventually relented and paid.’
      • ‘This inquest returned an open verdict because the jury had been unable to decide if it was an accident or suicide.’
      • ‘However, the district judge did not let the jury consider information about the prior art claims before returning its verdict.’
      • ‘A US judge has dismissed a spamming conviction after concluding that there was no ‘rational basis’ for the jury to return a guilty verdict.’
      • ‘The jury returned a verdict of manslaughter and Dunphy was sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment.’
      • ‘At first instance, the jury returned a verdict in favour of the defendant.’
      • ‘After a month long trial the jury at Blackfriars Crown Court took eight hours to return a unanimous verdict of not guilty.’
      • ‘Yesterday an inquest jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing on Mr and Mrs Robertson.’
      • ‘The jury returned a guilty verdict, and a sentence of life without parole.’
      • ‘Ben Collins waits anxiously for the jury to return a verdict in his trial.’
      • ‘The coroner returned a suicide verdict, saying that Mr Kapustynski had clearly intended to kill himself.’
      • ‘The jury only deliberated for half an hour before returning a guilty verdict.’
      • ‘The jury returned a so-called ‘special verdict’ of guilty but insane.’
      deliver, bring in, hand down, render, submit, announce, pronounce, proclaim
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    5. 2.5Bridge Lead (a card of a suit led earlier by one's partner).
      • ‘In fact if you are first or second and your partner is fifth, you might well choose to return a good card to help your partner.’
      • ‘One way of cooperating with declarer is by returning the suits which she leads.’
  • 3with object Yield or make (a profit)

    ‘the company returned a profit of 4.3 million dollars’
    • ‘Yet the fund still returned an annualised 10 per cent over five years.’
    • ‘Despite a second year of falling sales, the semiconductor company ended its run of losses, even returning a small profit.’
    • ‘The marketers must accept the fact that it will take years to build the business volume that will return profits.’
    • ‘Analysts say they never expected the company, which is faring much better than most dotcoms, to return a profit until 2003.’
    • ‘Delaney said the FAI would break even this year and return a profit in 2005.’
    • ‘This returned a healthy profit until it too disappeared in the mid-1990s as the region's railroads reorganised in the aftermath of the sale of Conrail.’
    • ‘Last year saw British equities return their worst annual performance since 1974.’
    • ‘I have a research collaborator who believes that companies are so busy trying to return big profits that innovation has all but died.’
    • ‘The shareware experience indicates that it is possible to return a profit even in the absence of enforcement mechanisms.’
    • ‘Taken as a whole, the railways of South Africa returned a good profit in the decade before Union, even if interest payments on loans are included.’
    • ‘It seems only reasonable that producers will rationally make production decisions on the premise that they will return a normal profit over the long run.’
    • ‘Purdham said the British company hoped to return a full-year profit in the year to June 2003.’
    • ‘In other words, 80 cents in Pepsi profit is returned for every $1 spent on Pepsi advertising.’
    • ‘However, Fitzpatrick said that WorldCom Ireland was returning a profit and was confident it could survive the shakeout.’
    • ‘The worst performers - Baillie Gifford and Eagle Star - both returned a negative 2.8 per cent.’
    • ‘For the last five years, the average bond portfolio has returned a cumulative 46.4%.’
    • ‘Compaq, which employs 2,100 people in Ireland, provided some positive news by beating dour Wall Street expectations and returning a profit.’
    • ‘How big a discount they'll demand varies, but most expect a 35% return on each order.’
    yield, bring in, earn, make, realize, secure, net, gross, clear, pay out, fetch, pocket
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  • 4with object (of an electorate) elect (a person or party) to office.

    ‘the Democrat was returned in the third district’
    • ‘I'm extremely confident that Pat Doherty will be returned as MP for West Tyrone.’
    • ‘He was returned for Dorset at the general election of 1832.’
    • ‘Clark opened his purse again for the fall elections, determined to elect a legislative majority that would return him to the Senate.’
    • ‘At the last general election, the Tories returned only 14 women MPs out of their total of 166.’
    • ‘England, with 54 per cent of the population, continued to return 71 per cent of the Commons.’
    • ‘On April 14, military troops loyal to Chavez returned him to power.’
    • ‘At the first election for a Legislative Assembly in 1856 he was returned for the electorate of Murrumbidgee.’
    • ‘His radical Westminster constituents returned him again, but he failed to become a second Wilkes.’
    • ‘The absence of a pre-election pact between Fine Gael and Labour will have the almost certain consequence of returning a Fianna Fáil-led government.’
    • ‘He was returned member for the Forest of Dean in 1892.’
    • ‘In addition to Ruane, Willie Clarke was also returned at the expense of a third SDLP seat.’
    • ‘In 1943 the Dublin Labour Party nominated Larkin as a Dáil candidate and he was returned in the election of that year.’
    • ‘He says he had decided before the May election that if the electorate returned Fine Gael to the opposition benches, it would be his last general election.’
    • ‘Instead, the election was held with parliament still in situ and Fianna Fail was returned with a greatly reduced majority.’
    elect, vote in, put in power, choose, opt for, select, pick, adopt
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  • 5Architecture
    with object Continue (a wall) in a changed direction, especially at right angles.


  • 1An act of coming or going back to a place or activity.

    ‘he celebrated his safe return from the war’
    as modifier ‘a return flight’
    • ‘After he got his things we took them to the hotel at which we were staying and went to a nearby restaurant to celebrate his return.’
    • ‘On the Sunday morning after my mother's return, the snow had stopped.’
    • ‘He married a nurse, whom he met in hospital soon after his return from Dunkirk, and has written a book about his experiences.’
    • ‘People will go once, to try it; but if it is to succeed it will depend on a flow of return customers.’
    • ‘Luckily Ron's return prevented any further discussion, or argument, on the topic.’
    • ‘On his return to Greece he resumed his work as Editor at the Archives of Folklore.’
    • ‘He prayed for her safe return every night.’
    • ‘On his return home he served his apprenticeship under his father until he took control of the farm in 1760 when his father died.’
    • ‘Penelope, the wife of Ulysses, has been waiting many years for his return from the Trojan War.’
    • ‘The shuttle service will also be available for the return trip after the fireworks.’
    • ‘All I ask is that you pray for me and my safe return.’
    • ‘That night, over a hundred people showed up to pray for the safe return of the captives.’
    • ‘I apologize for being late - a cancelled flight on my return from Chicago in mid-week disrupted my schedule a bit.’
    • ‘A male colleague and I were given the task of escorting him on a home visit, though only told of the risks upon return.’
    • ‘That night they went out to dinner to celebrate his return.’
    • ‘A few players made triumphant returns from injuries last night.’
    • ‘Sean Keane makes a return visit on June 24th so early booking is advisable.’
    • ‘Other than that, I found the continuing return of documentaries to the big screen one of the great positive developments of 2002.’
    • ‘By 1482 she was near to completing terms for his return from exile in Brittany.’
    • ‘After he left, Violette sank into her chair to await her aunt's return and to demand an explanation.’
    homecoming, travel back
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    1. 1.1in singular An act of going back to an earlier state or condition.
      ‘the designer advocated a return to elegance’
      • ‘The declining uptake of childhood vaccinations resulting from the fears promoted by these campaigns may lead to the return of real epidemics, causing death and disability.’
      • ‘Angel cringed at his rather sarcastic tone and the return of his more formal way of addressing her.’
      • ‘There is little indication in the figures that there will be a return to strong economic growth in the near future.’
      • ‘The return of the Liberals to office in 1893 sharpened the conflict.’
      • ‘Steve Chapman writes today about terrorism, fear, and the return to normalcy.’
      • ‘Her feelings of fear, anger, and revulsion brought the return of her hysteria and nausea crept into her throat.’
      • ‘More than three-thousand small rural communes were established by disaffected young people seeking a return to nature and the simple life.’
      • ‘Chapter 1 describes the return of the forest as the ice sheets retreated some 16,000 years ago.’
      • ‘In particular, the Duke's absence and consequent abuse of power by one of his deputies serves to justify the return of full centralized authority in the last Act.’
      • ‘Elections in 1983 saw the return of comparative stability with Moi still President, but of an increasingly corrupt and autocratic regime.’
      • ‘Coming at a time when students here are demonstrating for the return of government grant funding the play leaps into sharp contemporary focus.’
      • ‘A growing segment of our society longs for a return to traditional values.’
      • ‘This allowed the return of the Shah family to power and, eventually, the appointment of a non-Rana as prime minister.’
      • ‘He started a popular purging of the members of the previous government and announced a return to civilian rule.’
      • ‘It was the Herakleopolitan kings from Bahr Yusuf who restored order and stability as the Nile floods allowed the return of plentiful harvests.’
      • ‘He had even signed a Concordat with the papacy in July 1801, allowing the return of Roman Catholicism.’
      recurrence, reoccurrence, repeat, rerun, repetition
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    2. 1.2 The action of giving, sending, or putting something back.
      ‘we demand the return of our books and papers’
      • ‘Wells Fargo also announced that it would pay $100,000 for the return of the laptop.’
      • ‘IBM has demanded the return of up to 117,000 monitors because they might catch fire.’
      • ‘If the marriage fails because there are no children or the wife is unfaithful, the family of the man can demand a return of the money.’
      • ‘Due to these problems, our distributors have been authorized to accept the return of these motherboards for a full and complete refund.’
      • ‘In summary, if you receive a demand for the return of overpaid tax credits, don't feel obliged to pay it all in one go.’
      • ‘Mapuches have strongly protested against discrimination and demanded the return of their ancestral land.’
      • ‘The Italian Prime Minister has created yet another diplomatic storm by demanding the return of a painting held by the National Gallery of Ireland.’
      • ‘During the 1990s, descendants of the executed men demanded the return of the skulls so that they could be buried in Sami land.’
      • ‘All Inland Revenue correspondence has a return address on the back of the envelope.’
      • ‘The British Museum yesterday received its first official proposal from Greece in its campaign for the return of the controversial Elgin Marbles.’
      • ‘Parents pay £3 to join the service and then a further £1 to hire a toy for two weeks, 50p of which will be refunded on return of the item.’
      • ‘Lost lovers and lost children rarely figure in his accounts - but lost books are mourned, and their return marked with rejoicing.’
      • ‘Protas also demanded the return of property including costumes by fashion designer Halston and sets by sculptor Isamu Noguchi.’
      • ‘When the card-holder violates the terms on which the card is provided to him, the issuer will demand its return.’
      • ‘Arguing that Sunderland Council had illegally taken Thoburn's tools of trade, the pair demanded the return of his scales.’
      • ‘The owner of the dogs is offering a substantial reward for their safe return.’
      • ‘Toys'R'Us is seeking either damages to be determined at the trial, or the cancellation of the agreement and the return of the $200m it says it has paid in exclusivity fees.’
      • ‘The industrialist gave the original diamond as a present to Arlena Marshall, but he later demanded its return when Arlena dumped him.’
      • ‘It claims that irregularities and inconsistencies in the auction process mean that the consortium hasn't fulfilled its obligations and so is not entitled to the return of the deposit.’
      giving back, handing back, replacement, restoration, reinstatement, reinstallation, restitution
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    3. 1.3American Football A play in which the ball is caught after a kick or pass interception and is advanced by running; an advance of this kind.
      • ‘The decision to have WR Terrence Wilkins handle punt and kickoff returns was long overdue.’
      • ‘Clements displayed those abilities on a 66-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Colts on November 4.’
      • ‘Putting an inexperienced rookie back on punt return is a horrific error in judgment.’
      • ‘His 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1999 is a record.’
      • ‘Thank goodness for Desmond Howard's 95-yard punt return for a touchdown.’
    4. 1.4 (in tennis and other sports) a stroke played in response to a serve or other stroke by one's opponent.
      • ‘He nets a backhand return on the first set point but forces an error with the second, and the crowd goes bananas!’
      • ‘It is taken away with an astounding backhand return but a second chance is converted when Nathan nets a backhand.’
      • ‘Her opponent from Eastridge nailed a cross-court winner on the return.’
      • ‘The technology can resolve disputes for viewers over line calls, compare first and second serves and identify areas where returns of serve are made.’
      • ‘A ferocious forehand return gave Henin-Hardenne three break points.’
      • ‘The 12th seed clinched the third set with a backhand return down the line.’
    5. 1.5 A thing that has been given or sent back, especially an unwanted ticket for a sports event or play.
      • ‘37-year-old Hughes had audiences queuing around the block for returns when he staged his first one-man show, Map, at the Traverse in 2002.’
      • ‘The 300 tickets available for the event sold out weeks ago and there is a long waiting list of people hoping for returns.’
      • ‘With the 2,750-seat City Center selling out every performance (with a long nightly line outside the box office hopefully waiting for returns) it must be judged a smashing success.’
      returned item, unsold item, unwanted item, unwanted ticket, reject, exchange
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    6. 1.6British A ticket that allows someone to travel to a place and back again; a round trip ticket.
      • ‘In addition, other requirements such as Saturday-night stays and return tickets instead of one-way tickets were introduced.’
      • ‘Alternatively, next-day return train tickets from Dublin to Westport cost €20.96 and weekend return tickets cost €34.29 each.’
      • ‘It's a good thing I already had my return ticket to Nice.’
      • ‘You can get to Strasbourg by Ryan Air for £29.09 return from Stansted.’
      • ‘To get to my conference on time, I must fly back to New York and use my original return ticket.’
      • ‘Club prices start at stg £3,068 for a return ticket.’
      • ‘Yet only two days into his holiday, he found himself so captivated by the island he famously tore up his return train ticket and threw it into the sea.’
      • ‘The price of a five-day return train ticket on the Dublin-Cork route would rise from €54.80 to €59.’
      • ‘Commuter fares from the city centre to Raheny, for example, now € 1.50 for a single, will increase to € 1.55, while a €2.70 return will cost €2.80.’
      • ‘The steamboat agents inform her that they do not issue return tickets on West African steamers.’
      • ‘The four team members each received return tickets from Windhoek to Bangkok on South African Airways.’
      • ‘When he arrived at Heathrow on 4 March he had a return ticket and told the immigration officer that he was coming to this country as a tourist for two and a half weeks.’
      • ‘Some people don't like to be limited - by excursions, by return tickets or by the necessity of staying in the hotel they've chosen.’
      • ‘Ms. M.J.D. and the two children had a return ticket to Brazil.’
      • ‘For just €114, customers were able to buy transatlantic return tickets out of Baltimore, Boston and New York between November 1 and December 16.’
      • ‘Aer Arann Express is offering visitors to the show discounted rates on return tickets to Dublin.’
      • ‘From New York, Amtrak trains take about 13 hours to Toronto; returns cost £95.’
      • ‘Anyone expecting a return ticket for the National Express is going to be disappointed.’
      • ‘Allison got contributions from two companies but said it is still not enough to secure a return ticket to Slovenia.’
      • ‘The first thing he did was cash in his return ticket.’
      return fare, return ticket
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    7. 1.7 An electrical conductor bringing a current back to its source.
    8. 1.8 A second contest between the same opponents.
      • ‘Robben has given himself only a 10% chance of being fit in time for the return leg of their Champions League tie with Barcelona next week.’
      • ‘Undefeated Mayo continued to advance its bid for a place in the knockout stages of the All-Ireland Over-40s football championship by defeating Cavan in the return game at Tarmonbarry on Thursday evening.’
      • ‘The return game was an epic, four-and-a-half-hour affair.’
      • ‘Now the broadcaster has acquired the live radio and television rights to the vital return game on Tuesday 2 August.’
      • ‘This game was a thriller to watch and I can't wait for the return game this Sunday.’
      • ‘After some serious soul-searching, the Wallabies forwards regrouped and dominated South Africa in Perth and the All Blacks in the return game in Sydney.’
      • ‘FAZ is very happy with the preparations the two clubs have made for their return matches.’
      • ‘This time Ireland will have the backing of a full house for the return game which will be televised live on RTÉ.’
      • ‘Despite a spirited effort from HMS Tireless the submariners lost the inaugural match but they are already looking forward to a return match and the chance to level the score.’
      • ‘Second round matches will begin on November 24-26 with return matches taking place on the weekend of December 8-10.’
      • ‘The same year, he scored a try and kicked a penalty from well inside his own half in the return match.’
      • ‘Last season there was nothing to split the teams as All Blacks won the first fixture at home and Acorn won the return game, both by just one point.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, Capablanca could never raise the funds for a return match to bring the title back home, although he continued to play successfully in tournaments.’
      • ‘The scene is now set for a return match later in the year, as both players go head-to-head again in November's EuroTel Trophy match in Prague.’
      • ‘They then head to Townsville in North Queensland for return matches against the AIS, Japan and Australia.’
      • ‘The first-leg semi-final matches will be played on Friday and the return matches will be held on Sunday.’
      • ‘St Lucia plays Anguilla on January 11, and the return match will be played here on January 24.’
      • ‘The ladies play Sunday at 3 pm with a return match set for St Lucia on January 25 at Mindoo Phillip Park.’
      • ‘He became one of the few trusted confidantes of Bobby Fischer, who in turn made Torre his official second for his 1992 return match with Boris Spassky.’
      • ‘Comer are due to travel to Conahy for a return game over the Halloween break.’
  • 2often returnsA profit from an investment.

    ‘product areas are being developed to produce maximum returns’
    • ‘One of the country's first directors to earn decent box-office returns, he believes in giving moviegoers a good ride.’
    • ‘Historically, over the last seventy-five years, equities have yielded an annual average real return of 7 percent.’
    • ‘To enhance investment returns investors need to be flexible when it comes to rebalancing their portfolios.’
    • ‘If stocks rise, you could earn a much larger return.’
    • ‘At current prices the returns seem quite attractive relative to the risks.’
    • ‘For example, our return on investment is 27 per cent, which is very good.’
    • ‘Such activities yield very large returns, but they also accrue very large risks.’
    • ‘The emphasis is on secure long-term investment and the guaranteed returns are currently as low as four per cent per annum.’
    • ‘Quick returns on investment and high dividends have to be achieved to keep the confidence of shareholders.’
    • ‘In the final quarter of last year, retail delivered an annualised return of 8.8 per cent.’
    • ‘In fact, investors did suffer diminishing returns on their investments in the 1990s.’
    • ‘Each product is made with as little money as possible, so as to increase its return, and allow the vendor to price it at a level customers will buy.’
    • ‘What is most worrying is that only a tenth of companies would have given you a positive return over the past year.’
    • ‘The study also found that these companies delivered 28 % more return on capital.’
    • ‘These computations can be done on any part of your business, thereby helping you figure out what areas bring the best return on your time, money, and efforts.’
    • ‘Companies want to reduce IT costs and gain a greater return on their data management and storage investment.’
    • ‘Merrill earned only a 9 % return on its equity in the third quarter.’
    • ‘Moreover, one can argue that marketing to women yields higher returns than marketing to men.’
    • ‘Diversification will be critical for investors looking for steady returns in a low interest rate environment.’
    • ‘That results in a return of 57.7 per cent on a $4,000 investment.’
    yield, profit, returns, gain, income, revenue, interest, dividend, percentage
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A good rate of return.
  • 3An official report or statement submitted in response to a formal demand.

    ‘census returns’
    • ‘It has been argued that it is possible to arrive at estimates of traffic in an area even when data from traffic censuses and returns are largely lacking.’
    • ‘Anybody who doubts the veracity of the figures should consult the US census returns for the year 1880.’
    • ‘Mary, who turned twenty years old in 1860, cannot be found on census returns, but Juliett, still single, worked as a domestic.’
    • ‘Examining surviving Victorian housing from outside and from within can be very revealing particularly if these can be matched to information from Census returns.’
    • ‘In America, Hollerith, working on census returns, developed a machine using electric current and capable of analysing returns at speed.’
    • ‘Secondly, we built a database of information transcribed from the census returns.’
    • ‘From January 2nd 2002 researchers will be able to access the entire 1901 census returns for England and Wales online.’
    • ‘The printed census returns, upon which the figures are based, can be regarded as accurate only up to a point, even at the national level.’
    • ‘However, SER staff registers suggest that the staff at Ashford works in 1881 was 1,366, far beyond the 496 of the census return.’
    • ‘The circuit returns were then sent to the Exchequer in Winchester where they were summarized, edited and compiled into Great Domesday Book.’
    statement, report, submission, account, paper, record, file, dossier, write-up, data, information, log, journal, diary, register, summary
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 An official report of the results of an election.
      ‘falsification of the election return’
      • ‘Official returns for some locales can be found in state archives, but for most urban places newspapers seem to be the only source of the vote totals.’
      • ‘Other features of the act were the adoption of the first-past-the-post system and the establishment of the High Court as the court of disputed returns.’
      • ‘The official returns differ from the Register in several places because of typographical or transcription errors in the Register.’
      • ‘All had appeared in readiness for Harris to deliver the coup de grace to Gore on Saturday, once the absentee ballot returns were completed.’
      • ‘On the other hand, the regional gulf in Britain revealed by the election returns was very plain.’
      • ‘Minority party representation is guaranteed in both chambers regardless of election returns.’
      • ‘The official returns in the secretary of state's files contradict the Register on the number of votes received by Mayfield in Tuscaloosa County.’
    2. 3.2Law An endorsement or report by a court officer or sheriff on a writ.
  • 4Election to office.

    ‘we campaigned for the return of Young and Elkins’
    • ‘New ground has also been broken with the return of a black Conservative MP.’
    • ‘This year the Green Party is campaigning hard for the return of political parties to this Parliament that can work together in a cooperative and consultative way, for the common good.’
    • ‘The general election of June 1951 saw the return of significant numbers of right-wing deputies for the first time since 1945.’
  • 5A key pressed to move the carriage of an electric typewriter back to a fixed position.

    1. 5.1 A key pressed on a computer keyboard to simulate a carriage return in a word-processing program, or to indicate the end of a command or data string.
      • ‘Don't type ‘y’ or ‘yes’; just accept the defaults by hitting the return key.’
      • ‘Type another question in the unasked column and press the return key.’
      • ‘Or, use the arrow keys to highlight the operating system you want to load and press return.’
      • ‘However, this morning the number key containing the dollar sign stopped working, followed by the delete key and the return key.’
      • ‘When I hit return, nothing happened and the search field was empty.’
  • 6Architecture
    A part receding from the line of the front, for example the side of a house or of a window opening.

    • ‘Full-height doors at this level pivot shut to 10 mm-wide aluminium returns set in the wall.’
    • ‘A mahogany staircase leads to the upper floor and on the return there is a large arched window with antique coloured glass panels.’
    • ‘The third bedroom is situated on the upstairs return and there is landing access to the attic.’
    • ‘The master bedroom is off the first floor return which has a window that overlooks the River Suir.’
    • ‘The garden level can be accessed independently from the front garden as well as from the hall floor return.’


  • in return

    • As a response, exchange, or reward for something.

      ‘he leaves the house to his sister in return for her kindness’
      • ‘Charles relinquished his claim to Burgundy in return for an indemnity of two million gold ecus from Francis.’
      • ‘If you're not being paid much for the job you're doing, make sure you get something out of it in return at the time.’
      • ‘He says he gives a lot of himself teaching, but gets a lot in return.’
      • ‘Sponsors are shelling out to keep its City-to-City tour going and not even asking for anything in return.’
      • ‘As much as people care about tax, they also care about what they receive in return for their taxes.’
      • ‘He was offered the space in return for making a corporate video for a company.’
      • ‘Immunity from prosecution in return for truthful testimony was discussed early on, and rejected.’
      • ‘Manila became the centre for a trade in Chinese silks with Mexico, in return for Mexican silver dollars.’
      • ‘What you give people to try, and what you give them in return for their money, is up to you.’
      • ‘The idea is that they invest in the company in return for a share of the future success and stay involved for several years.’
      in exchange for, in consideration of
      View synonyms
  • many happy returns (of the day)

    • Used as a greeting to someone on their birthday.

      • ‘Anyway, for the two ladies in our community we say many happy returns of the day girls and may you both enjoy many more happy, healthy birthdays.’
      • ‘This might be explained by the fact that today is Independence Day in Finland - and many happy returns to our Finnish readers.’
      • ‘It was a memorable occasion and we wish Maureen many happy returns and lots of good health.’
      • ‘We are delighted to extend best wishes and many happy returns to Ted Clark, Langanoran, on the occasion of his birthday over the weekend.’
      • ‘Family and friends gathered to wish him many happy returns of the day.’
      • ‘A large group of family and friends joined in the celebration and we wish Justin many happy returns at this special time.’
      • ‘Congratulations and many happy returns of the day to Mrs Bridget Caden, Tooreen, Crossmolina, who today celebrates her 100th birthday.’
      • ‘And personally, I'm looking forward very eagerly to many, many happy returns of the day.’
      • ‘The Pattaya Mail family wishes her many happy returns of the day and many more years of excellent health and happiness.’
      • ‘The Editorial Board and the staff wish him many happy returns of the day, good health, new creative achievements, and happiness to his family, luck and many more years in military science.’
  • return thanks

    • Express thanks, especially in a grace at a meal or in response to a toast or condolence.

      • ‘James Doherty, Chairman Inver Community Centre Committee, returned thanks on behalf of the community, as did Fr Liam Reilly, C.C., who said the community centre would be a great boon to the area.’
      • ‘Declan Byrne secretary gave his report and said he was not going for re-election this year after a five year term and also returned thanks to all for great assistance.’
      • ‘We had grace around the dinner table, and we all had to take turns in praying and returning thanks every morning.’
      • ‘So, one of those days when you feel that surviving a car journey is something to return thanks to God for, like 17th century travellers used to when they had safely crossed the Atlantic.’
      • ‘Amos said, ‘Jaben, would you return thanks for this meal?’’
      • ‘Mr James Roberts was a capable master of ceremonies and returned thanks to all who were involved in the production.’


Middle English: the verb from Old French returner, from Latin re- ‘back’ + tornare ‘to turn’; the noun via Anglo-Norman French.