In Reply to: Turned out posted by Victoria S Dennis on February 17, 2009 at 12:39:
: : I believe the phrase "turned out" has its origins in baking. It makes sense. When you bake a cake you don't know how it will be until you turn it out. I think it doesn't make sense otherwise. The phrase is now so widely used you think it makes sense til you think about it.
: what does anyone think. I cant see any corroberation on this. I would be interested if you think it nonsense or agree.
: There are two strikes against that idea. One is that there are many very ancient senses of "turn" that make sense with "turn out"; e.g. "to change [something[, to make [something] into..."; similarly "out" is used in many constructions to signify resolution and conclusion, e.g. "make out", "give out", "fall out". Another is that the cake tin is a relatively modern invention; in the 18th century - when "turned out" was already an established phrase, cakes were made by standing it on a baking sheet and surrounding it with a withy hoop. When it was baked you just slid the hoop off; you didn't "turn it out". (VSD)
Mr. McCaughey was just the tiniest bit vague as to the context in which he found "turned out." As Victoria says, "turn out" or "turned out" has many meanings.
I've already turned the cake out of the tin and iced it. Before bringing it out into the main salon I turned out the lights in the kitchen. (Electricity is SO expensive these days.) The cake will be gone in no time, I'm sure, as we've had a very good turn-out today. And the cake turned out very well, I'm glad to say.
I noticed John Butterfield when I cam in today. He was very well turned out, and so was Mrs. Butterfield. I've heard that he's been put out to pasture down at the Ministry, turned out of his job. With no paycheck and just a miserable pension he fears being unable to meet the payments on his new house. He thinks he's going to be turned out any day.
He's had other bad luck, too. His grandson, Bart, turned out badly, it seems. He'll probably turn up today, though, as sweets are a turn-on for him.
Actually, the only truly ancient meaning for turn out, of those above, is represented by being turned out of one's house or job.