Pronunciation: (ri-tûrn'),[key] —v.i. 1. to go or come back, as to a former place, position, or state: to return from abroad; to return to public office; to return to work. 2. to revert to a former owner: The money I gave him returns to me in the event of his death. 3. to revert or recur, as in thought, discourse, etc.: He returned to his story. 4. to make a reply or retort: She returned with a witty sally.
—v.t. 1. to put, bring, take, give, or send back to the original place, position, etc.: to return a book to a shelf; to return a child to her mother; to return the switch to off position. 2. to send or give back in reciprocation, recompense, or requital: to return evil for good. 3. to reciprocate, repay, or react to (something sent, given, done, etc.) with something similar: to return the enemy's fire; to return a favor. 4. Law. a. to give to a judge or official (a statement or a writ of actions done).
b. to render (a verdict, decision, etc.).
5. to reflect (light, sound, etc.).
6. to yield (a profit, revenue, etc.), as in return for labor, expenditure, or investment.
7. to report or announce officially: to return a list of members. 8. to elect, as to a legislative body: The voters returned him to office by a landslide. 9. Mil.to put (a weapon) back into its holder.
10. Cards.to respond to (a suit led) by a similar lead: She returned diamonds. 11. to turn back or in the reverse direction, as a served ball in tennis.
12. Chiefly Archit.to cause to turn or proceed in a different direction from the previous line of direction; reverse: to return a cornice at each end of a façade.
—n. 1. the act or fact of returning as by going or coming back or bringing, sending, or giving back: We should appreciate your return of the book immediately. 2. a recurrence: the return of the moon each month. 3. reciprocation, repayment, or requital: profits in return for outlay. 4. response or reply.
5. a person or thing that is returned: returns of mill goods. 6. the gain realized on an exchange of goods.
7. Often, returns. a yield or profit, as from labor, land, business, or investment: He received a quick return on his money. 8. Also called tax return. a statement, on an officially prescribed form, of income, deductions, exemptions, etc., and taxes due.
9. Usually, returns. an official or unofficial report on a count of votes, candidates elected, etc.: election returns. 10. Chiefly Brit.See return ticket (def. 2).
11. Archit. a. the continuation of a molding, projection, etc., in a different direction.
b. a side or part that falls away from the front of any straight or flat member or area.
12. a tablelike extension attached at a right angle to a desk at typing height, for holding a typewriter, computer, etc.
13. a key or lever on a typewriter or other business machine that returns the carriage to the extreme right, or the typing element to the extreme left, for the beginning of a new line.
14. Computers.See under carriage return (def. 2).
15. Sports. a. the act of returning a ball.
b. the ball that is returned.
16. Football.a runback of a kick, intercepted pass, or fumble recovery.
17. Econ.yield per unit as compared to the cost per unit involved in a specific industrial process.
18. Law. a. the bringing or sending back of various documents, such as a writ, summons, or subpoena, with a brief written report usually endorsed upon it, by a sheriff, to the court from which it issued.
b. a certified document by a great variety of officers, as assessors, collectors, and election officers.
c. the report or certificate endorsed in such documents.
19. Cards.a lead that responds to a partner's lead.
20. Theat.a flat or drapery parallel to the tormentor for masking the offstage area and often completing the downstage part of a set.
21. returns, a. merchandise shipped back to a supplier from a retailer or distributor as unsold or unsalable.
b. merchandise returned to a retailer by a consumer.
—adj. 1. of or pertaining to a return or returning: a return trip. 2. sent, given, or done in return: a return shot. 3. done or occurring again: a return engagement of the opera. 4. noting a person or thing that is returned or returning to a place: return cargo. 5. changing in direction; doubling or returning on itself: a return twist in a road. 6. used for returning, recirculating, etc.: the return road; a return pipe. 7. (of a game) played in order to provide the loser of an earlier game with the opportunity to win from the same opponent: return match. 8. adequate, necessary, or provided to enable the return of a mailed package or letter to its sender: return postage guaranteed; return address; return envelope.