a container or machine in which cream or milk is agitated to make butter.
any of various containers or machines similar in shape or action to a butter churn, as a device for mixing beverages.
British. a large milk can.
an act of churning stocks by a stockbroker.
verb (used with object)
to agitate in order to make into butter: to churn cream.
to make (butter) by the agitation of cream.
to shake or agitate with violence or continued motion: The storm churned the sea.
to turn over and over in the mind: His brain slowly churned all the choices and possibilities.
(of a stockbroker) to trade (a customer's securities) excessively in order to earn more in commissions.
verb (used without object)
to operate a churn.
to move or shake in agitation, as a liquid or any loose matter: The leaves churned along the ground.
to be changing rapidly or be in a confused state: Her emotions churned as she viewed the horrific photos.
to have a queasy feeling, as from anxiety or disgust: My insides were churning at the thought of being on stage.
(of a stockbroker) to engage in the practice of churning.
Verb phrases
churn out, to produce mechanically, hurriedly, or routinely: He was hired to churn out verses for greeting cards.

before 1000; Middle English chirne (noun), Old English cyrne cyr(i)n; cognate with Middle Low German kerne, Old Norse kjarni, kirna

churnable, adjective
churnability, noun
churner, noun
unchurn, verb (used with object)
unchurned, adjective
well-churned, adjective

7. whip, toss, convulse. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
churn (tʃɜːn)
1.  (Brit) a large container for milk
2.  a vessel or machine in which cream or whole milk is vigorously agitated to produce butter
3.  any similar device
4.  the number of customers who switch from one supplier to another
5.  a.  to stir or agitate (milk or cream) in order to make butter
 b.  to make (butter) by this process
6.  (sometimes foll by up) to move or cause to move with agitation: ideas churned in his head
7.  (of a bank, broker, etc) to encourage an investor or policyholder to change investments, endowment policies, etc, to increase commissions at the client's expense
8.  (of a government) to pay benefits to a wide category of people and claw it back by taxation from the well off
9.  to promote the turnover of existing subscribers leasing, and new subscribers joining, a cable television system or mobile phone company
[Old English ciern; related to Old Norse kjarni, Middle Low German kerne churn, German dialect Kern cream]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. cyrin, from P.Gmc. *kernjon, probably akin to cyrnel "kernel," from the grainy appearance of churned cream. Extended verbal senses are from late 17c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


device for making butter. The earliest churns were goatskins or other primitive containers in which cream could be agitated. The dash churn, familiar to farm homes for centuries, consisted of a tall, narrow, nearly cylindrical stone or wood tub fitted with a wooden cover; the cream was agitated by a hand-operated vertical wooden plunger, or dash. Another type, widely used in the 19th century, was shaped like a small barrel and mounted in a framework. Operation of a hand crank caused the barrel to revolve end over end

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
In college you learned to churn out a five-page paper in a few hours.
He needs machines to churn palm oil and chemicals into soap, stamp it into bars
  and package it in plastic.
Ocean currents govern the world's weather and churn a kaleidoscope of life.
Journalists unconstrained by research protocols churn out self-help books that
  focus on select variables that interest them.
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