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[turn-pahyk] /ˈtɜrnˌpaɪk/
a high-speed highway, especially one maintained by tolls.
(formerly) a barrier set across such a highway to stop passage until a toll has been paid; tollgate.
Origin of turnpike
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English turnepike road barrier (in def. 1, short for turnpike road). See turn, pike2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for turnpike
  • Dotter pulled off the turnpike in the middle of nowhere.
  • Troopers said the car overturned several times and was upside down along the turnpike when it was found.
  • To and from work commuters may be a more reasonable market for fast charge stations than turnpike or shopping center trips.
British Dictionary definitions for turnpike


(between the mid-16th and late 19th centuries)
  1. gates or some other barrier set across a road to prevent passage until a toll had been paid
  2. a road on which a turnpike was operated
an obsolete word for turnstile (sense 1)
(US) a motorway for use of which a toll is charged
Word Origin
C15: from turn + pike²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for turnpike

early 15c., "spiked road barrier used for defense," from turn + pike (n.2) "shaft." Sense transferred to "horizontal cross of timber, turning on a vertical pin" (1540s), which were used to bar horses from foot roads. This led to the sense of "barrier to stop passage until a toll is paid" (1670s). Meaning "road with a toll gate" is from 1748, shortening of turnpike road (1745).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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