return Definition

  • 1come or go back to a place or person
  • 2give, put, or send (something) back to a place or person
  • 3feel, say, or do (the same feeling, action, etc.) in response

Using return: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "return" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    I will return home tomorrow.

  • Example

    Please return the book when you're finished reading it.

  • Example

    He returned my smile.

  • Example

    The company is returning profits to its shareholders.

return Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for return

Antonyms for return

Idioms Using return

  • the prodigal son returns

    someone who has been away for a long time has come back


    After years of traveling abroad, the prodigal son returns to his hometown.

  • to say or do something kind or polite to someone who has said or done something kind or polite to you


    When he complimented her on her cooking, she returned the compliment by praising his wine selection.

  • to return to one's previous level of skill or ability


    After a few disappointing performances, the athlete returned to form and won the championship.

Phrases with return

  • return the favor

    do something helpful for someone who has helped you in the past


    She helped me move last weekend, so I'm returning the favor by helping her paint her apartment.

  • a point in a course of action beyond which reversal is not possible


    Once we cross the border, we'll have reached the point of no return and won't be able to turn back.

  • diminishing returns

    a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested


    We've already spent so much time on this project that any further work would result in diminishing returns.

Origins of return

from Old French 'retorner', from Latin 're-' meaning 'back' + 'tornare' meaning 'to turn'


Summary: return in Brief

The verb 'return' [rɪˈtərn] means to come or go back to a place or person, give or send something back, or feel, say, or do the same thing in response. It can be used in phrases like 'return the favor,' meaning to help someone who has helped you, and idioms like 'the prodigal son returns,' referring to someone who has been away for a long time. 'Return' also has formal synonyms like 'revert' and 'restore.'

How do native speakers use this expression?