Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French returner, from re- + turner, tourner to turn — more at turn
Date: 14th century
a. to go back or come back again <return home> b. to go back in thought, practice, or condition ; revert <soon returned to her old habit> 2. to pass back to an earlier possessor 3. reply, retort transitive verb 1. a. to give (as an official account) to a superior b. British to elect (a candidate) as attested by official report or returns c. to bring back (as a writ or verdict) to an office or tribunal 2. a. to bring, send, or put back to a former or proper place <return the gun to its holster> b. to restore to a former or to a normal state 3. a. to send back ; visit — usually used with on or upon b. obsolete retort 4. to bring in (as profit) ; yield 5. a. to give or perform in return ; repay <return a compliment>; also to respond to in kind <returned his calls> b. to give back to the owner c. reflect <return an echo> 6. to cause (as a wall) to continue in a different direction (as at a right angle) 7. to lead (a specified suit or specified card of a suit) in response to a partner's earlier lead 8. a. to hit back (a ball or shuttlecock) b. to run with (a football) after a change of possession (as by a punt or a fumble) Synonyms: see reciprocate • returner noun II. noun Date: 14th century 1. a. the act of coming back to or from a place or condition b. a regular or frequent returning ; recurrence 2. a. (1) the delivery of a legal order (as a writ) to the proper officer or court (2) an endorsed certificate stating an official's action in the execution of such an order (3) the sending back of a commission with the certificate of the commissioners b. an account or formal report c. (1) a report of the results of balloting — usually used in plural <election returns> (2) an official declaration of the election of a candidate (3) chiefly British election d. (1) a formal statement on a required legal form showing taxable income, allowable deductions and exemptions, and the computation of the tax due (2) a list of taxable property 3. a. the continuation usually at a right angle of the face or of a member of a building or of a molding or group of moldings b. a means for conveying something (as water) back to its starting point 4. a. a quantity of goods, consignment, or cargo coming back in exchange for goods sent out as a mercantile venture b. the value of or profit from such venture c. (1) the profit from labor, investment, or business ; yield (2) plural results d. the rate of profit in a process of production per unit of cost 5. a. the act of returning something to a former place, condition, or ownership ; restitution <the return of stolen goods> b. something returned; especially plural unsold publications returned to the publisher for cash or credit 6. a. something given in repayment or reciprocation <a return on their years of hard work> b. answer, retort 7. an answering play: as a. a lead in a suit previously led by one's partner in a card game b. the action or an instance of returning a ball (as in football or tennis) 8. chiefly British round-trip III. adjective Date: 1676 1. a. having or formed by a change of direction <a return facade> b. doubled on itself <a return flue> 2. a. played, delivered, or given in return <return fire from the enemy> b. taking place for the second time <a return meeting for the two champions> 3. used or taken on returning <the return road> 4. returning or permitting return <a return valve> 5. of, relating to, or causing a return to a place or condition <use the prestamped return envelope>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.