1. A vessel or device in which cream or milk is agitated to separate the oily globules from the caseous and serous parts, used to make butter.
2. Turbulence or agitation: "the violent churn of a long waterfall" (Catherine Reid).
v. churned, churn·ing, churns
a. To agitate or stir (milk or cream) in order to make butter.
b. To make by the agitation of milk or cream: churn butter.
2. To agitate vigorously or turn over repeatedly: wind churning up the piles of leaves. See Synonyms at agitate.
3. To buy and sell (a client's securities) frequently, especially in order to generate commissions.
1. To make butter by operating a device that agitates cream or milk.
2. To be turbulent or agitated: waves churning in the storm; so angry it made my stomach churn.
3. To move by agitating water or by means of a pumping action: The boat churned through the narrows.
To produce in an abundant and regular manner: churns out four novels a year.
[Middle English chirne, from Old English cyrn, cyrin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.