Definition of turn on in US English:

turn on

phrasal verb

  • 1Suddenly attack (someone) physically or verbally.

    ‘he turned on her with cold savagery’
    • ‘He said he feared for his life after the three men suddenly turned on him and started punching him.’
    • ‘Richardson then turned on a man who had witnessed the attack from his property nearby on April 4.’
    • ‘She tried to tear her away from the troopers, but they turned on her and beat her so badly most of her teeth were broken.’
    • ‘Suddenly Lily turns on her.’
    • ‘To her it looked as if the dragon had suddenly turned on Arvan without reason.’
    • ‘When his master suddenly turns on him, Little John barely makes it out with his life.’
    • ‘You have been parking there for two years you say and suddenly they have turned on you.’
    • ‘Should he lose, it will be like a pack of wolves that suddenly turns on itself.’
    • ‘She physically turns on Helena.’
    • ‘Suddenly he turns on the photographer, obviously annoyed that he hasn't been taking more pictures.’
    attack, set on, fall on, launch an attack on, let fly at, lash out at, hit out at
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  • 2Have as the main topic or point of interest.

    ‘for most businessmen, the central questions will turn on taxation’
    • ‘The battle between them is one of childish machismo and turns on the question of one of them being a rat.’
    • ‘The case turns on a question of principle.’
    • ‘The case turns on a short statutory question, all other aspects of the claims having been agreed.’
    • ‘The outcome of today's application really turns on two questions.’
    • ‘The rest of the play turns on whether they will decide to live together, in Yorkshire or London.’
    • ‘In such a world there is no space for a communication without a topic that turns on money.’
    • ‘That the question turns on the meaning of a passage from Scripture is not insignificant.’
    • ‘The question turns on that vexed subject, the moral status of the human embryo.’
    • ‘We only decide important questions of law and your case turned on questions of fact.’
    • ‘I think the case turns on a pure question of fact to be determined by common-sense principles.’
    depend on, rest on, hang on, hinge on, be contingent on, be decided by
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