Meaning of churn in English:


Pronunciation /tʃəːn/

See synonyms for churn

Translate churn into Spanish


  • 1A machine for making butter by shaking milk or cream.

    ‘Mothers made butter from milk, they mixed the milk in a butter churn.’
    • ‘Some of them saw us and paused at their chores, resting behind their ploughs or looking up from butter churns and gardens.’
    • ‘In the center of the room stands an enormous stainless steel churn, a giant horizontal spatula on wheels to remove the butter from the churn, and a boat, or trough, into which the spatula unloads its haul.’
    • ‘Her dress was very stately; it was mostly off-white silk, like the color of buttery cream in a churn.’
    • ‘Jackie thought that was a mug's game, but was happy to separate the cream from the milk (by hand), and make butter in a wooden churn.’
    • ‘The farmer agreed to do this and started churning again the next morning, in no time at all there was enough butter in the churn to supply half the countryside.’
    • ‘It was also usual, although not very popular, for the one who was last downstairs to have to turn the churn handle until the cream turned into butter.’
    • ‘The Country Living-themed event at St Mary's Church, Sand Hutton, will include a pig farm, country kitchen window, milk churns and butter churns.’
    • ‘Since about 1870, they had been in the business of manufacturing churns, butter molds, scales, thermometers, and other tools used in dairying.’
    • ‘There's also a table with three skinny legs and a lidded jar with a thick, straight, vertical handle that rises up like the rod of a butter churn.’
    • ‘She is a perfect mountain woman, shrewd and suspicious, quick to laugh or scowl, handy with a butter churn or a folk remedy.’
    • ‘We are one of only two remaining manufacturers in North America still using a butter churn in the making of buttermilk.’
    • ‘They found him out back, banging on a butter churn, watched by unimpressed cows.’
    • ‘An old woman covered her bare shoulders with a woollen shawl as Estelle struggled with the butter churn by the doorway.’
    • ‘He has created a motorised butter churn which is an ordinary churn with an engine from a lawn mower attached underneath.’
    • ‘Mr Stone said the 38 cm metal disc was originally attached to the largest type of butter churn made by the company, which was built specifically for the large-scale production of butter.’
    • ‘Even better, through development work on the continuous butter churn, Tong and his team of food scientists propose the production of a butter that has a reduced fat content.’
    • ‘Occasionally, when there's an abundance of milk, Janet will make butter and cheese by traditional methods using an old, hand-turned butter churn, and her daughter produces free-range bacon.’
    • ‘When I was small I had the job of watching the little circular window on the lid of the churn and had to shout when the glass became clear, an indication that the butter had separated.’
    • ‘It was said that to take a coal from the fire in the house in which a churn was being made was very unlucky for the maker of the butter.’
    blender, food processor, liquidizer, stirrer, beater, churn, whisk
    View synonyms
  • 2British A large metal container for milk.

    ‘the fresh creamy milk sat in a churn in the kitchen’
    • ‘a milk churn’
    • ‘The milk was offered from a metal churn and the ladles hung from it.’
    • ‘When he had finished, he poured the milk into the big churns and washed the buckets.’
    • ‘I started when I was nine years old going round with my father with a horse and float with milk churns.’
    • ‘Milk churns and dairymaids are making a comeback on a Sheffield housing estate where South Yorkshire's first urban dairy will start producing cheese commercially next month.’
    • ‘Hathaway milk churns were made from wood, and were fitted with a trademark red iron plate.’
    • ‘In addition to the pre-war team groups, the paper often featured old pictures of the town - horse drawn carts, rattling with milk churns, wending their way down foggy, gas-lit streets and the like.’
    • ‘Hoops of plant stems woven and placed under milk storage jugs, pails and churns would prevent milk being spirited away by fairies.’
    • ‘In those days his dad and uncle Derek ran their business from Moorhouse Farm, delivering the milk from churns carried on horse-drawn floats with wooden wheels.’
    • ‘The farmers would bring their milk in churns, and the system was that the Department of Agriculture bought it from the farmers, and then they sold it to us.’
    • ‘In the early days farmers would bring their churn of milk to the creamery by whatever means was available to them, horse and cart, donkey and cart or tractor and trailer.’
    • ‘The folk culture of the North British backcountry, translated to the Appalachian highlands of America, held that it was unlucky to wash a milk churn.’
    • ‘They were fortunate to have the milk lorry pass by the farm gate, so one of the lads would help the driver to lift the churns up onto the lorry each morning, earlier on a Sunday so that the driver could finish a bit earlier.’
    • ‘I can still hear the clang of the milk churns as they were dropped at the back door and smell the scent of sweet, evocative vanilla and hot milk that wafted up to my room.’
    • ‘Cosgrove's father had been a lorry driver for the local creamery, driving milk churns round the houses and farms in Perthshire.’
    • ‘Since returning to his plot in October his hut has been burnt down and he has lost tools, milk churns and chicken feed totalling well over £100.’
  • 3

    short for churn rate


  • 1with object Shake (milk or cream) in a machine in order to produce butter.

    ‘the cream is ripened before it is churned’
    • ‘The sample of the sound of milk being churned into butter takes on an eerie sound that is more like a pack of marching troopers than a regular act of rural domesticity.’
    • ‘When this milk was churned, the concentration of pesticides increased; that might be the butter you spread on toast.’
    • ‘If the gold ore is not refined one will not obtain the pure gold, if the milk is not churned one will not obtain butter, and if the sesame seed is not pounded one will not produce sesame oil.’
    • ‘This milk was separated into cream, being churned into butter and the skin being returned to suppliers for animal feeding.’
    • ‘Suzanne makes sure that the equipment is all sprayed down, and Alastair churns the cream until it turns into butter.’
    • ‘The organic butter you buy in the grocery store is usually made from mechanically churned cream.’
    • ‘Besides milking a cow and separating off the cream, that cream has to be churned for quite a while at the right temperature, washed and salted and moulded until it's just right.’
    • ‘Our flour comes in the shape of a loaf, our milk churned into butter/cheese.’
    • ‘The butter plant primarily churns cream and packages butter.’
    stir, agitate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Produce (butter) by churning milk or cream.
      ‘the women were churning butter and making cheese’
      • ‘McDermott was the lady who churned the butter at Rathscanlon.’
      • ‘Women churned butter, baked potato bread and poured Irish coffees.’
      • ‘She was raised on a rustic Tyrolian farm where she learned to churn butter, bake bread, and store provisions for winter.’
      • ‘An old woman churns butter, while a woman in the foreground prepares a fowl for roasting.’
      • ‘The buttermaker then drains the buttermilk off and continues churning the butter until it reaches the right texture and firmness.’
      • ‘Sometimes she churned fresh butter and traded it.’
      • ‘Little Samuel was sitting on the front porch churning butter.’
      • ‘Butter and cheese were being churned and sold on the streets, while a pig on a barbecue created a mouth-watering aroma that drifted through the town.’
      • ‘A full slate of activities also is planned, including butter churning, ice cream making and ice cream eating contests.’
      • ‘I shall just have to sit and churn butter and weave my own clothing like they did in the old days.’
      • ‘‘There's something I'm good at,’ I muttered, thinking of the fine, silky butter I would churn.’
      • ‘She slowly gained the stamina needed for the intensely hard work of milking and churning butter.’
      • ‘Yet Ann kept up the old tradition of churning butter.’
      • ‘The rest of the afternoon was spent picking tomatoes, churning butter, washing dishes, serving, cleaning the stables and just having fun.’
      • ‘Women habitually baked bread, churned butter, brewed beer, sewed clothes, knitted stockings, spun yarn, and even sometimes milled flour and wove cloth.’
      • ‘His mother always made homemade bread and churned butter, and she preserved jams and a myriad of fruits and vegetables for savoring through the year.’
      • ‘It turns out they actually live like that: their jobs are building barns and churning butter and having little card tables at farmer's markets.’
      • ‘It has its own salmon-smoking oven and churns its own butter.’
      • ‘While children on the frontier learned how to milk cows and churn butter, parents learned how wise 12-year-olds can be.’
      • ‘They were also expected to wash milk-pots and churn butter.’
  • 2(with reference to liquid) move or cause to move about vigorously.

    no object ‘the seas churned’
    • ‘the water was churned by a flotilla of boats and ferries’
    • ‘It churned up the sea even more, and beat the yellow rain macs of the fishermen tying down tarpaulins.’
    • ‘His hands were quivering, and his stomach felt as though it were churning and moving.’
    • ‘I write this my stomach is churning a little with tension, remembering how it felt.’
    • ‘They hissed and roared, churning the very sea in their great battle.’
    • ‘There were eight pools of waste water, in which purplish-reddish liquid was churning.’
    • ‘Pour in the liquid and churn until it starts to thicken and freeze.’
    • ‘Karen's stomach churns every time she takes visitors to the river.’
    • ‘The mantle churns as hotter material moves outward from Earth's core and colder material sinks back down, a process called thermal convection.’
    • ‘The sea was churning - almost as much as her stomach was, in nervousness.’
    • ‘Through the window we watched the brown sea churning beneath the pier.’
    • ‘I nodded slowly, feeling liquids inside my head churn roughly.’
    • ‘Hopefully, if my views help make your mind churn, that adds spice to your life as well.’
    • ‘While the mixture churns, whiz the strawberries to a purée in a food processor.’
    • ‘Slightly off-centre, a constant whirlpool swirls and churns turbulently, sometimes spitting up a boiling fount.’
    • ‘As we approach, the wide, steady river narrows and churns.’
    • ‘A blue substance churns and drips through a tube from one chamber to another.’
    • ‘As the gap between the enormous hull and the quayside grew the water churned.’
    • ‘At times strong head-winds whipped up high waves that churned the lake surface into a frenzy, making it difficult to paddle.’
    • ‘It all sounds static, but there is a great deal of emotion churning beneath the surface.’
    • ‘The gray green water behind her thrashed and churned.’
    be turbulent, heave, boil, swirl, toss, seethe, foam, froth
    disturb, stir up, agitate
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with object Break up the surface of (an area of ground)
      ‘vast crowds had churned the area into a sea of mud’
      • ‘He added grass verges in the area were churned up and were disgusting and wanted to know what Colchester Council was spending taxpayers' money on.’
      • ‘Mr Langton said: ‘The weather is so bad at the moment that if we try to move the car, it will churn the field up and make a real mess of the pitch.’’
      • ‘The shelling churned the landscape into a sea of mud and craters.’
      • ‘The whole of the Market Place has been revamped at vast expense and if it were churned up now it would be quite appalling.’
      • ‘Furious park users claim that a popular beauty spot has been churned up by speeding quad bikes.’
      • ‘The field has been ruined, the grass has been churned up into mud, there are piles of rubbish everywhere and it's not even been bagged.’
      • ‘About 30 boulders have been mounted on the grass verge in Wilcot Avenue to stop motorists churning up the ground.’
      • ‘Huge earth moving machines continue to churn the ground beneath the pig farm, 18 miles east of Vancouver, in the search of more evidence.’
      • ‘She aimed her rifle at the ground, fired off a spray that churned the earth.’
      • ‘All that is gone now due to a few selfish bikers who rip round all over the field, taking a delight in churning every path up and making walking a very dangerous occupation.’
      • ‘By then the Allied armies had advanced about ten miles and the Somme battlefield had been churned, like that of Verdun, into a featureless lunar landscape.’
      • ‘Residents have complained that cars and vans have been used in races around the playing fields, churning up the grass.’
      • ‘Between January and March games are always called off because mud has been churned up.’
      • ‘But the land was churned up by riders and followers of the Bedale Hunt in pursuit of a fox last Saturday.’
      • ‘The town council chairman said the grass outside the school was being churned up by tyres.’
      • ‘Just a few weeks after the green was opened, youths on motorbikes churned up the grass, and, in one week alone, the council was forced to fork out more than £1,000 to repair damage.’
      • ‘Road safety markings in the shape of dinosaur footprints that were painted on a dangerous crossing to help children get to and from school have been churned up by workmen weeks after they were installed.’
      • ‘Elsewhere there are places where thoughtless mountain bike and motorbike riders have churned up paths.’
      • ‘Eventually, we did go off-road as the tarmac gave out and the dirt track became increasingly churned up.’
      • ‘Turbulent tides have churned up the sea bed, disturbing rocks and natural debris such as drift wood.’
  • 3no object Have an unpleasant disturbed feeling.

    ‘her stomach was churning at the thought of the ordeal’
    • ‘you never feel rested because your mind is always churning’
  • 4with object (of a broker) encourage frequent turnover of (investments) in order to generate commission.

    ‘these brokers churn the client's portfolio to generate an income for themselves’
    • ‘Managers may churn their accounts to generate more soft dollars in order to buy services such as stock research.’
    • ‘The broker appears to have churned the account and Donald let him do so.’
    • ‘It was the kind of fairy tale brokers tell their clients while churning their accounts.’
    • ‘One dealer said the volume was mostly churned by traders employed by brokerage houses, with most retail investors still on the sidelines.’
    • ‘And because they churn their portfolios almost by the minute, their trading volumes move markets.’
    • ‘This is unlike other funds which churn their portfolio in a never-ending search for hot stocks.’
    • ‘There seems to be no end of brokers appearing in the press and on TV these days telling us we need to churn our portfolios more often.’
    • ‘M&B is churning its estate as it attempts to concentrate on larger sites that make more money from selling food than from beer sales.’
    • ‘He then churned the Estate account by selling perfectly reasonable shares to pay for this ill-conceived investment.’

Phrasal Verbs

    churn out
    • churn something out, churn out somethingProduce something routinely or mechanically and in large quantities.

      ‘artists continued to churn out uninteresting works’
      • ‘publishers have been churning out book after book’
      • ‘Far too often today historical works are churned out in unreadable academic jargon.’
      • ‘Even as new applications are churned out, old ones need maintaining and even newer ones developing.’
      • ‘Between 1942 and '45, a total of 93 ships were churned out here - roughly one every three weeks.’
      • ‘Asset-price inflation may be rampant but the price of goods in the shops is falling as China continues to churn them out at an increasing rate.’
      • ‘‘The EU is churning this legislation out like mad,’ he said.’
      • ‘Clothes were genuinely brighter in the 1960s because the development of synthetic fabrics and cheap dyeing processes meant that manufacturers could churn them out in whatever colours they wanted.’
      • ‘A year ago, it seemed LCD manufacturers couldn't churn the products out fast enough.’
      • ‘As if there was a factory churning them out around the corner, they kept multiplying.’
      • ‘This is some of the worst television to have ever been made - and they've been churning it out for over a decade.’
      • ‘This may not be the book that puts her on the bestseller list, but it's proof that she can churn them out.’
      • ‘They know there's going to be a high demand for them, so they churn them out using shoddy materials.’
      • ‘The tiny country of less than 500,000 people had a gross domestic product of $US1.85 billion in 2001 and churns out 350,000 barrels of oil a day.’
      • ‘Back in Tulsa, the John Pickle Company's factory still churns out pressure vessels, many of which sit rusting near the factory gates.’
      • ‘He adds: ‘The war was this great machine which churned out dead bodies.’’
      • ‘The possibilities range from injecting genes to implanting tiny machines that would churn out the necessary proteins nonstop.’
      • ‘You can take your camera and one of these little machines to parties and churn out snapshots on the spot.’
      • ‘Mr. Zanussi says that the Hollywood machine churns out films that exploit the debasing tendencies of man like sex and violence.’
      • ‘These machines churn out umpteen cubic feet of carbon monoxide, polluting the atmosphere and killing more life forms than a few million smokers could ever do.’
      • ‘And the young people being churned out of our schools have no jobs.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, there is a vast industry churning out forged documents.’
    churn up
    • 1churn something up, churn up somethingBreak up or disturb an area of ground or body of liquid.

      ‘the earth had been churned up where vehicles had passed through’
      • ‘in high winds most of the lake is churned up’
    • 2churn something up, churn up somethingCause or provoke a feeling or outcome, especially a negative one.

      • ‘the film will churn up feelings of both revulsion and admiration’


Old English cyrin, of Germanic origin; related to Middle Low German kerne and Old Norse kirna.