Definition of turn on in US English:

turn on

phrasal verb

  • 1Suddenly attack (someone) physically or verbally.

    ‘he turned on her with cold savagery’
    • ‘To her it looked as if the dragon had suddenly turned on Arvan without reason.’
    • ‘Should he lose, it will be like a pack of wolves that suddenly turns on itself.’
    • ‘You have been parking there for two years you say and suddenly they have turned on you.’
    • ‘Suddenly Lily turns on her.’
    • ‘He said he feared for his life after the three men suddenly turned on him and started punching him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When his master suddenly turns on him, Little John barely makes it out with his life.’
    • ‘Richardson then turned on a man who had witnessed the attack from his property nearby on April 4.’
    • ‘Suddenly he turns on the photographer, obviously annoyed that he hasn't been taking more pictures.’
    • ‘She physically turns on Helena.’
    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 case turns on a question of principle.’
    • ‘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 outcome of today's application really turns on two questions.’
    • ‘The case turns on a short statutory question, all other aspects of the claims having been agreed.’
    • ‘We only decide important questions of law and your case turned on questions of fact.’
    • ‘The rest of the play turns on whether they will decide to live together, in Yorkshire or London.’
    • ‘The question turns on that vexed subject, the moral status of the human embryo.’
    • ‘I think the case turns on a pure question of fact to be determined by common-sense principles.’
    • ‘The battle between them is one of childish machismo and turns on the question of one of them being a rat.’
    depend on, rest on, hang on, hinge on, be contingent on, be decided by
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