Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A vessel or device in which cream or milk is agitated to separate the oily globules from the caseous and serous parts, used to make butter.
  • transitive v. To agitate or stir (milk or cream) in order to make butter.
  • transitive v. To make by the agitation of milk or cream: churn butter.
  • transitive v. To shake or agitate vigorously: wind churning up the piles of leaves. See Synonyms at agitate.
  • transitive v. To buy and sell (a client's securities) frequently, especially in order to generate commissions.
  • intransitive v. To make butter by operating a device that agitates cream or milk.
  • intransitive v. To move with or produce great agitation: waves churning in the storm; so angry it made my stomach churn.
  • churn out To produce in an abundant and automatic manner: churns out four novels a year.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To agitate rapidly and repetitively, or to stir with a rowing or rocking motion; generally applies to liquids, notably cream.
  • v. To produce excessive and sometimes undesirable or unproductive activity or motion.
  • v. To move rapidly and repetitively with a rocking motion; to tumble, mix or shake.
  • n. A vessel used for churning.
  • n. The time when a consumer switches his/her service provider.
  • n. The mass of people who are ready to switch carriers, expressed by the formula Customer Quits/Customer base.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A vessel in which milk or cream is stirred, beaten, or otherwise agitated (as by a plunging or revolving dasher) in order to separate the oily globules from the other parts, and obtain butter.
  • transitive v. To stir, beat, or agitate, as milk or cream in a churn, in order to make butter.
  • transitive v. To shake or agitate with violence.
  • intransitive v. To perform the operation of churning.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A vessel in which cream or milk is agitated for the purpose of separating the oily parts from the caseous and serous parts, to make butter.
  • To stir or agitate in order to make into butter: as, to churn cream.
  • To make by the agitation of cream: as, to churn butter.
  • To shake or agitate with violence or continued motion, as in the operation of making butter.
  • To perform the act of churning, or an act resembling it.
  • n. A block or chuck on a potter's turning-lathe.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. stir (cream) vigorously in order to make butter
  • n. a vessel in which cream is agitated to separate butterfat from buttermilk
  • v. be agitated

Etymologies

Middle English chirne, from Old English cyrn, cyrin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English ċyrin. Cognate with West Frisian tsjerne and Dutch karnen. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Slide 12: Rule 2 churn, baby, churn* (* as said by Guy Kawasaki)

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  • Barra estimates GM wastes $1 billion a year on what she calls "churn"-on-again, off-again vehicle projects, late design changes and transfers of engineering work from one part of the world to another.

    Forbes.com: News

  • We actually don't disclose the churn numbers in large part because what we define as churn may be different from the next company, and we don't think there's no standardized view of churn.

    Internet Sector and Stocks Analysis from Seeking Alpha

  • On top of that, the few wireless providers already experimenting with HD, found out that churn is reduced when users used HD phones and hence HD will become a strategic marketing tool for them.

    Time To Make Phone Calls Sound Better? « Steve Wildstrom on Tech

  • But, again, a following created largely through churn is a following that doesn't have significant value in the context of marketing your book.

    Jonathan Fields: The Truth About Author Platforms

  • The hiring that occurs to replace lost workers is called churn.

    The Jobs Picture Is Still Far From Rosy

  • But "the churn is huge," says pastor William Ankerberg.

    Church's role gets stronger, bigger

  • During a relatively placid economic period like the mid-2000s, about 65% of all hiring is associated with what economists have dubbed "churn"-the job-to-job movement of workers through the labour force, which neither adds to nor subtracts from total employment.

    The Economist: Daily news and views

  • What we call churn is someone who has not (inaudible) in a year.

    SeekingAlpha.com: Home Page

  • While it is too early to predict long-term churn profiles, the first Vonage World customer groups are churning at a rate less than half that of similarly tenured customers added in the months prior to the World launch.

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Comments

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  • "In e-mail marketing, the churn is the percentage of your subscriber list e-mail addresses that unsubscribe or bounce over a set length of time." --Webopedia

    Though I like fearraigh's definition better.

    June 13, 2009

  • Fearraigh, you've made this word sound even better. Thanks. :-)

    March 28, 2007

  • I like the laborious metre and sound of the word, and I'm also nostalgic for watching my Granny making butter when I was a wee fellow.

    February 22, 2007