Expressions used in Everyday Spoken English in Social and Professional contexts

turn on (somebody)

turn on somebody
1) attack or criticize somebody suddenly or unexpectedly
  • How to MemorizePopularity HighProfessional HighSocial
    • turn on somebody for no reason
  • Analysis
    The phrasal verb 'turn on' can mean to physically or verbally attack someone. If you 'turn on somebody' you treat them badly or aggressively usually suddenly or after being nice to them previously. (note: when you say 'to turn on somebody meaning to become aggressive towards them the stress in on the word 'turn' if you 'turn on somebody' and the stress is on the word 'on' it can have a very different meaning; 'to sexually excite someone', so you need to be careful with this expression.) To 'turn on' can also mean 'to have as the main or central point of discussion or interest', such as 'the conversation turned on to the environment'. You can 'turn on' something mechanical in order to start it or to get it to work, such as 'turn on the TV'. As a noun, 'a turn on' is something which is sexually exciting.
  • Social Examples (Basic)
    1. Sarah may seem friendly but be careful. She can turn on you for no reason.
  • Professional Examples (Basic)
    1. After the meeting, John turned on me and unfairly accused me of failing to support his proposal. I really don't know what got into him.
    2. The boss is temperamental and hard to work for. He turns on people the instant they disagree with him.
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