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Re: Turn in

Posted by Probe on August 28, 2007

In Reply to: Re: Turn in posted by Smokey Stover on August 27, 2007

: : What's the origin of "TO TURN IN", meaning to go to bed?

: In the Oxford English Dictionary I find a theory and a half. One of the numerous meanings of "turn in" (including such as transitive usages as "turn in your papers now) is this:

: [s.v. turn:]' ** intr. e. To turn aside and go in (to a place, house, room, etc.): cf. 16, 24c.
: ... 1658 W. GURNALL Chr. in Arm. verse 14. III. ix. 257 Even they sometimes turne in at the fairest signe. 1888 MISS TYTLER Blackhall Ghosts II xv. 23 Hearing your stable clock strike as I turned in at your gate.'

: It is possible to make a mental transition between this use, with a construction, and the use without construction:

: 'f. (orig. Naut.) To go to bed. colloq.
: 1695 CONGREVE Love for L. III. xv, Mrs. F. I believe it's late. B... An you think so, you had best go to Bed... I mean to toss a Can..afore I turn in. 1837 T. HOOK Jack Brag xiii, Jack 'turned in', as the sailors say. 1891 N. GOULD Double Event 218 It's late..and quite time we turned in.'

: So once again we have a nautical origin, which is, in turn, derived from the original meaning of rotate or deviate (that is, change direction). I fear there are some missing links, some lacking fossils, in the evolution of this particular use. Perhaps someone knows enough to fill in.
: SS


: f. (orig. Naut.) To go to bed. colloq.
: 1695 CONGREVE Love for L. III. xv, Mrs. F. I believe it's late. B... An you think so, you had best go to Bed... I mean to toss a Can..afore I turn in. 1837 T. HOOK Jack Brag xiii, Jack 'turned in', as the sailors say. 1891 N. GOULD Double Event 218 It's late..and quite time we turned in.

I would like just to add a suggestion.
I believe the space on old-times boats was quite limited and the sailors' beds (most probably of hamac-type in two tiers) had a very restrictive clearance to accommodate a person (which is the case even nowadays on small boats). Therefore the person to go to bed had to literally "turn in".