[OED:] A. 1. a. The action of turning over, in various senses: see quots.;
(Polit. slang) a transference of votes from one party to another.

I understand the morphemes 'turn' and over' and the literal meaning of 'turnover', per above. Instead, how does turnover figuratively mean the following? A business doesn't turn over the money received. 'Turning over people' sounds barbarous, but this noun is frequently used with neutral connotation.

[ODO:] 1. The amount of money taken by a business in a particular period:

2. The rate at which employees leave a workforce and are replaced

[I ask NOT about definition 3 for 'A small pie ...', which is literal enough for me to understand.]

Footnote: I don't think that this question concerns etymology, but if I've erred, please advise.

  • 1
    Business is barbarous. Just ask Human Resources. You need to meditate on turn in relation to cycles (in a particular recurrent time-period [daily, weekly, monthly, yearly], with hiring and firing or quitting, etc)
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 5, 2015 at 9:58

1 Answer 1


The term "revolving door" is used to express situations where people are constantly entering and leaving a place, even if there is no physical revolving door, and this, to me, is what turnover is figuratively expressing.

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