late 14c., "act of coming back," also "official report of election results," from Anglo-French retorn, Old French retorne, verbal noun from retorner (see return (v.)). In ball games from 1833; specifically in tennis from 1886. Meaning "a yield, a profit" is recorded from 1620s. Meaning "a thing sent back" is from 1875. Many happy returns of the day was used by Addison (1716). Mailing return address attested from 1884.
early 14c., "to come back, come or go back to a former position" (intransitive), from Old French retorner "turn back, turn round, return" (Modern French retourner), from re- "back" (see re-) + torner "to turn" (see turn (v.)). Transitive sense of "report officially" is early 15c.; "to send back" is mid-15c.; that of "to turn back" is from c. 1500. Meaning "to give in repayment" is 1590s; that of "give back, restore" c. 1600. Related: Returned; returning.
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