turn a corner: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘turn a corner’ mean?

The idiom "turn a corner" means to make progress or experience a positive change, especially after a difficult or challenging period.

Idiom Explorer

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The idiom "turn a corner" is a commonly used expression in the English language, typically conveying the idea of making progress, overcoming difficulties, or experiencing a positive change in a situation. It is a metaphorical phrase that has its roots in physical movement and spatial orientation.

When someone turns a corner, they change direction or shift their path. They leave behind one environment or situation and enter into a new one. This shift or change is the essence of "turn a corner," an idiom that represents a significant and positive change or improvement in a situation or an individual's circumstances. It indicates moving beyond a difficult or challenging period and signifies that better times are approaching.

The idiom "turn a corner" is versatile and can be used in various contexts. It describes personal growth, recovery from an illness or setback, improvements in business or financial situations, or even societal progress. It is a powerful expression that embodies the idea of progress and positive transformation.

One related idiom is "take a turn for the better." This phrase signifies a significant improvement in a situation. When someone or something takes a turn for the better, it means that they have experienced a positive change, often unexpectedly. This idiom further emphasizes the idea of improvement and progress.

The corner was transformed with significant progress and improvement.

Another related idiom is "take a turn." This expression is used to indicate a change in direction, often highlighting a shift from one state, condition, or situation to another. It can be applied to various aspects of life, such as someone's fortune or a project's outcome. "Take a turn" aligns with the notion of "turn a corner" as both idioms involve a change or shift in direction.

One more related idiom is "turn around." This phrase suggests a complete change in a situation, often from a negative or unfavorable state to a positive or favorable one. It emphasizes the idea of a complete reversal or transformation. "Turn around" is closely connected to "turn a corner" as both idioms emphasize positive change and improvement.

When we say "wheels are turning," we mean that actions are being taken or progress is being made. This idiom signifies movement or activity, suggesting that things are happening or progressing in a situation. It is closely related to the concept of "turn a corner" as both express the idea of forward movement and progress.

The idiom "turn into" refers to a transformation or the process of changing into something else. It often denotes a significant shift or alteration in form, character, or nature. "Turn into" can be used to describe a person becoming a different version of themselves or a situation evolving into something new. This idiom shares the theme of transformation with "turn a corner."

When we consider these related idioms, we can see how they further emphasize the idea of progress and positive change inherent in the idiom "turn a corner." They convey the notion that improvement and transformation are possible in various situations and circumstances. Whether it's taking a turn for the better, experiencing a shift in direction, making a complete turnaround, seeing the wheels turn, or undergoing a transformation, these idioms serve to highlight the power and potential of positive change.

"Turn a corner" is an idiomatic expression that symbolizes progress, positive change, and overcoming obstacles. Its metaphorical meaning has evolved from the physical act of turning a corner to encompass broader contexts. While the origin of the phrase remains uncertain, its usage in the English language is well-established. The idiom is a reminder that even in moments of difficulty, there is always the potential for improvement and the possibility of a brighter future.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom *turn a corner* can be used in a sentence:

  • After several months of struggling, she finally turned a corner in her career and was offered a promotion.
  • The patient had a difficult recovery, but after a few weeks, he turned a corner and began to show signs of improvement.
  • The company was going through financial difficulties, but they managed to turn a corner and start making profits again.

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