I came across this idiom today.

turn a profit

To make money; to make a profit from a particular venture.

From The Free Dictionary


What is the difference between "turn a profit" and "make a profit?

Take this example from the free dictionary.

We're going to have to close the shop if we don't turn a profit again this quarter.

Is "turn a profit" and "make a profit" interchangeable here?

  • 1
    I think you have already answered your own question, In your quote from Free Dictionary the meaning of turn a profit is make a profit. – Brad Jul 30 '19 at 13:57

There is no difference. "Turn a profit" is more idiomatic/figurative, as it includes the image of your fortunes turning, from loss to profit, in the near future, but otherwise the usage is much the same.

We're going to have to close the shop if we don't make/turn a profit again this quarter.

It even makes sense to use with an individual transaction

I don't know how but, even in this market, he still managed to turn/make a profit on the sale of that old house.

Note: Because "turn" is metaphorical, when using it imagine a literal change of direction, as in the similar idioms "turn a corner" and "turn over a new leaf", so it's kind of a decisive moment. Once a business "turns" a profit in a given time period (or transaction) it doesn't normally "turn" back.

Although, as with any metaphor, it can be used creatively:

We thought the business had turned a profit this quarter, only to have it run into a brick wall when we realized we hadn't set aside enough money to cover payroll taxes.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.