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Turn the tables   /tərn ðə tˈeɪbəlz/   Listen
Turn the tables

verb
1.
Cause a complete reversal of the circumstances.  Synonym: turn the tide.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Turn the tables" Quotes from Famous Books



... the tyrants and murderers do not always have things all their own way. Sometimes the inoffensive prey turn the tables upon their torturers with distinguished success. For example, Mr. Wallace noticed a kind of sand-wasp, in Borneo, much given to devouring crickets; but there was one species of cricket which exactly reproduced the features of the sand-wasps, and mixed among them on equal terms without fear of ...
— Falling in Love - With Other Essays on More Exact Branches of Science • Grant Allen

... case. There had been plotting and counterplotting. While the Kiowas were playing their tricks upon the Apaches, the latter managed to a certain extent to turn the tables. When they branched out upon their reconnoitering expedition, Waukko was engaged in the same business. When he discovered the single sentinel sitting by the fire, he crept up like a phantom behind him, and drove his ...
— In the Pecos Country • Edward Sylvester Ellis (AKA Lieutenant R.H. Jayne)

... until I should give the signal for a renewal of HOSTilities, as they well deserved to be called. Then there came over me a horrid, wicked feeling. What if I should endeavour to floor the Governor, and so literally turn the tables on him! It is true I had lived for five-and-twenty years without touching wine,—but was not I my great-grandfather's great-grandson, and an Irish peer to boot? Were there not traditions, too, on the other side of the house, of casks of claret brought up ...
— Letters From High Latitudes • The Marquess of Dufferin (Lord Dufferin)

... well rid of her, and still would have talked of my business, but it would not do. At last he looks steadily at me. 'Look you, madam,' says he, 'you came to ask advice of me, and I will serve you as faithfully as if you were my own sister; but I must turn the tables, since you oblige me to do it, and are so friendly to me, and I think I must ask advice of you. Tell me, what must a poor abused fellow do with a whore? What can I do to ...
— The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders &c. • Daniel Defoe

... this morning of the fourteenth, the Americans had remained on the defensive,—seven hundred against two thousand or more. Now, however, different tactics were to be used. Colonel Huntington had decided that it was time to turn the tables, and before the night was come the occupants of the graves on the crest of the hill ...
— The Boys of '98 • James Otis

... not mean to do so. She evidently meant to turn the tables by bearing suddenly down on us, and, if possible, give us a broadside before we could get out of range. The captain saw the intention ...
— Freaks on the Fells - Three Months' Rustication • R.M. Ballantyne

... fourteen to twelve that of 1829, twenty-two years later. This interest is peculiarly subject to fluctuations; some of which in the past have been less explicable than the one it is now undergoing. Another decade may turn the tables, and restore the flag of the old Liverpool liners to their fleeter but less shapely supplanters. The steamer and the clipper are both American inventions. Why not their combination ours as well? The centenary of Rumsey's boat, not due till December ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science - February, 1876, Vol. XVII, No. 98. • Various

... all the while there rose A ready answer, which at once enables A matron, who her husband's foible knows, By a few timely words to turn the tables, Which, if it does not silence, still must pose,— Even if it should comprise a pack of fables; 'T is to retort with firmness, and when he Suspects with one, do you reproach ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Volume 6 • Lord Byron

... replied the stranger judicially, "it's up to you whether he knocks you down. Why don't you turn the tables and do the knocking down yourself? It's a beautiful ...
— Left Tackle Thayer • Ralph Henry Barbour

... old man has still some brains, you see. I'll be even with you yet, Derrick. You needn't think you're to have it all your own way. It's my turn now. You've deprived me all this time of the only thing I care for in life, and now I turn the tables on you. Tit for tat. Oh! yes, I've turned your d——d scribblings to a useful purpose, ...
— Derrick Vaughan—Novelist • Edna Lyall

... felt like a dry sponge from which every possible drop of moisture had been squeezed. Amy was insatiable. Her interest in the tale never flagged; and when her exhausted friend explained that she really could not think of another word to say on the subject, she would turn the tables by asking, "Then, Miss Katy, mayn't I tell you a chapter?" whereupon she would proceed somewhat ...
— What Katy Did Next • Susan Coolidge

... slow work of that, fumbling while watching Ekstrom with unremitting intentness, hoping against hope that his enemy might make one false move, one only, by some infatuate endeavour to turn the tables excuse ...
— The False Faces • Vance, Louis Joseph

... resistin' officers. Es Sam Hayes said, if we shoot, we 'll be a-shootin' up Gulpin County. An' yet, by thunder, we 've plumb got ter do it, er git off the earth. I jest don't see no other way. Biff, he won't care a damn how he gits us, so he gits us afore we have any chance ter turn the tables on him, an' shift the law over ter our side. Hayes can't help any, fer he 's out o' his head. Consequent, it's up ter us. Thet warrant business, an' deputy sheriff racket, was a blame smart trick, all ...
— Beth Norvell - A Romance of the West • Randall Parrish

... open, he thought; and, if he could, he would have a clever revenge, for he determined to turn the tables on his enemies, shut them in, and he hoped to make them prisoners till he could signal for help from the cutter, and get a boat's ...
— Cutlass and Cudgel • George Manville Fenn

... mates, I never heard any more of them. The former most probably continued a "kickee" until years and experience enabled him to turn the tables on humanity, when, as is usually the case with Christians, he would be very likely to take up the business of a "kicker" with so much the greater zeal on account of his ...
— The Monikins • J. Fenimore Cooper

... mine proves successful I don't think either will have much; but if Miss Austin is a beauty in a mild way, he's a noble beast, one very likely to turn the tables upon a rash hunter," was the answer. "And yet he's stalking blindly into the ...
— Thurston of Orchard Valley • Harold Bindloss

... in very good part, until after the quarl betwigst master and Lady Griffin; when that lady took care to turn the tables. Whenever master and miss were not present (as I've heard the servants say), she used to laff at shevalliay for his obeajance and sivillatty to master. For her part, she wondered how a man of his birth could act a servnt: how any man could submit to such contemsheous behavior from another; and ...
— Memoirs of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush - The Yellowplush Papers • William Makepeace Thackeray

... very tantalising to see our ship still in sight; for we did not suppose that, had we got up to her, Captain Gunnel would have ventured to refuse to admit us on board. He would probably have tried to turn the tables on us, and have abused us for remaining so long ...
— My First Voyage to Southern Seas • W.H.G. Kingston

... measured respect, and introduced him as Mr. MacNeesh, the new Scotch steward and improver—a character at that time whose popularity might compete with a tithe proctor or an exciseman. So completely did this tactique turn the tables upon the poor adjutant, who the moment before was exulting over me, that I utterly forgot my own woes, and sat down convulsed with mirth at his situation—an emotion certainly not lessened as I saw Curzon passed from one to the other at table, "like a pauper to his parish," till he found ...
— The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Vol. 1 • Charles James Lever

... as I supposed," he thought. "There are several spies in town, and they know me and are trying either to learn something or to get possession of me. We shall have to turn the tables ...
— The Liberty Boys Running the Blockade - or, Getting Out of New York • Harry Moore

... puzzled face. "But why didn't you turn the tables at first? And why didn't we stay here? My moth-er was here all the ...
— The Poor Little Rich Girl • Eleanor Gates

... much myself, that it is simply lovely to turn the tables on someone else," she announced. "I am going to see this business through in a proper and well-regulated fashion. Now that the technical course is finished, you are going to be put through a viva voce examination. Sit ...
— Betty Trevor • Mrs. G. de Horne Vaizey

... left in the lower hall, had passed unnoticed from the dining-room, and now were tiptoeing down the hall toward the door of Dunwody's apartment. Clayton and his men, dulled with loss of sleep, had allowed them to leave the main room, and these two, soldiers by training, had resolved to turn the tables and take possession of the place. Their plans were at the point of success. They had almost reached the door of Dunwody's room, weapons in hand, when from above they heard ...
— The Purchase Price • Emerson Hough

... guard over the narrow pass. He had made up his mind that he would not offer them money. He would watch his chance to outwit them, he would match his intelligence against their cunning, his patience against their brute force. It would be worth a week's captivity to turn the tables on these two rogues and get back to civilization in time to set at work the police machinery of a hundred cities, so that, whatever way they might turn, there would be no escape for them. He turned several schemes over in his mind ...
— With Hoops of Steel • Florence Finch Kelly

... they can," Ashe returned. "And what would you do—keep him here? If we tried that, he'd scheme to escape and try to turn the tables on us. Now he'll keep away from Nodren's village and out of sight for the time being. Lal's not too bright in some ways, but he's a good hunter. If he has reason for hiding out, it'll take a better hunter to track him. At least we ...
— The Time Traders • Andre Norton

... given to show that the proper delivery of one blow or hit is often enough to turn the tables, and how advisable it is to practise often, so as to keep the eye and hand ...
— Broad-Sword and Single-Stick • R. G. Allanson-Winn

... we'll soon turn the tables." He leaned out and spoke a word to the driver, who drew up around the next corner in ...
— The Mystery of Mary • Grace Livingston Hill

... oppositeness; contradiction; antagonism &c (opposition) 708; clashing, repugnance. inversion &c 218; the opposite, the reverse, the inverse, the converse, the antipodes, the antithesis, the other extreme. V. be contrary &c adj.; contrast with, oppose; diller toto coelo [Lat.]. invert, reverse, turn the tables; turn topsy-turvy, turn end for end, turn upside down, turn inside out. contradict, contravene; antagonize &c 708. Adj. contrary, contrarious^, contrariant^; opposite, counter, dead against; converse, reverse; opposed, antithetical, contrasted, ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... is gone—that if there was any real fear of guns from Asia being able to make us loosen our grip on the Peninsula, I would cable him quickly. Then why does he ask? Well—and why shouldn't he ask? I must not be so captious. Much better turn the tables on him by asking him to enable us to knock out the ...
— Gallipoli Diary, Volume I • Ian Hamilton

... consequences of pressing us into a corner. I knew he would sell his company and retire from the field if I could find a way to pay him for so doing. He knew that if he turned the screws too hard I would as a last resort turn the tables by throwing Bay State Gas into bankruptcy. I tried many times and in many ways to find means to bring about a termination of the struggle, but to no purpose. Our extremity was such that it was impossible to ...
— Frenzied Finance - Vol. 1: The Crime of Amalgamated • Thomas W. Lawson

... It was possible that the massacre had not extended to the southern suburb; possible, that if it had, the Huguenots who lay there—Frontenay, and Montgomery, and Chartres, with the men of the North—might be strong enough to check it, and even to turn the tables on the Parisians. ...
— Count Hannibal - A Romance of the Court of France • Stanley J. Weyman

... the deadly hatred of ingratitude.' No party, he says, was ever so unpopular. It had already disgusted people with political economy; and would disgust them with parliamentary reform, if it could associate itself in public opinion with the cause[106]. This was indeed to turn the tables. The half-hearted disciple was insulting the thoroughbred teacher who had borne the heat and burthen of the day, and from whom he had learned his own doctrine. Upon this and other impertinences—the assertion, for example, that Utilitarians were as incapable ...
— The English Utilitarians, Volume II (of 3) - James Mill • Leslie Stephen

... my best to follow this sound advice; but who but a Raffles can control his every look? It was never my forte, as you know, yet to this day I cannot conceive what I did to excite the treacherous corporal's suspicions. He was clever enough, however, not to betray them, and lucky enough to turn the tables on us, as ...
— Raffles - Further Adventures of the Amateur Cracksman • E. W. Hornung

... do I see? cf. The incident in The Plain Dealer, IV, ii, of which there are obvious reminiscences here. Olivia, making love to Fidelia, who is dressed as a boy, is surprised by Vernish. Olivia runs out, and he discovering the supposed lad to be a woman proceeds to turn the tables on his spouse. ...
— The Works of Aphra Behn - Volume IV. • Aphra Behn

... be tempting victims. Before the confederacy was formed, some of its members, particularly the Caniengas and Oneidas, had suffered greatly from wars with the wilder tribes about them. The new strength derived from the League enabled them to turn the tables upon their adversaries. But they made a magnanimous use of their superiority. An enemy who submitted was at once spared. When the great Delaware nation, the Lenapes, known as the head of the Algonkin stock, yielded to the ...
— The Iroquois Book of Rites • Horatio Hale

... tempered with pity. The lion had Una in his mouth. There seemed to be no question in the public mind as to how he would eventually dispose of her. Mary felt the difference keenly. She could hardly submit to it. She wanted desperately to do something which, in every sense, would turn the tables. She risked huge sums in a wild hope that her courage might conquer luck, that again she might know the peculiar joy, the indescribable thrill of seeing the "bank" send for more money. Yet deep down within her a voice said that the moment would never come ...
— The Guests Of Hercules • C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson

... some time known; he admits that all farmers without capital, in short, all little men, must be sacrificed. What a barbarous and odious policy, that goes upon the principle that none but capitalists are henceforth to be allowed to live, as farmers at least. We must turn the tables upon ...
— Lord George Bentinck - A Political Biography • Benjamin Disraeli

... presently, lads," Captain O'Connor said assuringly. "We will turn the tables on them by ...
— One of the 28th • G. A. Henty

... DEVONSHIRE has arranged to return from Monte Carlo on Saturday," so said the Morning Post, "in order to address a political meeting at Glasgow on April 14th." His Grace having torn himself away from delightful Monte Carlo, will then attempt to turn the tables on the Liberales Gladstonienses. But fancy renouncing sunny Mount Charles—"O Charley Mount is a pleasant place," as sang Miles na Coppaleen, who was, by the way, miles away from Monte Carlo—with its azure ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 104, April 8, 1893 • Various

... river," said KELAP, and began to weep. So they threw him into the river. KELAP swam out to the middle of the river and, putting up his head above the surface, called out, "That's alright, this is my home." At this the people saw that he had got the better of them, and determined to turn the tables by poisoning the water with TUBA.[166] The bat overheard what they were saying, and at once flew off to KELAP, and advised him to get out of the river. "No, I shall stay here," said KELAP, "this is the safest place for me," and he went and stood ...
— The Pagan Tribes of Borneo • Charles Hose and William McDougall

... once. And as soon as he was done, Williams in his dulcet, insinuating way, would invent some history (referring for proof, to the old man's own excellent memory and to copies of "The Old Guard" known not to be in his possession) that would turn the tables completely and leave the Admiral all abroad and helpless. By and by he came to so dread Williams and his gilded tongue that he would stop talking when he saw him approach, and finally ceased to mention politics ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... good," she said. "We have had to buy our wisdom in rather an expensive school, but it ought to make us wiser in future. So far we have only suspicions to go upon, not facts, and it is very likely that if we accused Oily Dave of stealing our stuff he would be clever enough to turn the tables on us, and have us prosecuted for libel, or something of that sort, which ...
— A Countess from Canada - A Story of Life in the Backwoods • Bessie Marchant

... Jim throw his bunch of game on the ground, he knew his chase was at an end, and that presently, when he felt good and ready, he could turn the tables on his enemies. ...
— Darry the Life Saver - The Heroes of the Coast • Frank V. Webster

... know it. Didn't you notice how he looked at your card? And I want you to go at once and speak to him, and turn the tables ...
— The Sleeping Car - A Farce • William D. Howells



Words linked to "Turn the tables" :   turn, reverse, change by reversal



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