Do a 180 or do a 360

Do a 180 and do a 360 are idioms that came into use in the mid-twentieth century. We will examine the meaning of the idioms do a 180 and do a 360, where they came from, and some examples of their use in sentences.

Do a 180 is a phrase that means to reverse one’s opinion or attitude, to do the exact opposite of what one intended to do. For instance, a person may refuse to eat apples and dislike them intensely until one day, he eats an apple and discovers it is very tasty. One may say he did a 180 in his opinion of apples. The expression do a 180 refers to the degrees in a circle. If one travels 180 degrees on a circle, he winds up exactly opposite his starting place on the circle. Related phrases are does a 180, did a 180, doing a 180.

Do a 360 means to end up in the same place that one started. Rarely, one may see the expression do a 360 to mean someone has changed his mind twice–once when he embraced the opposite of what he espoused, and then again when he came back to his original opinion. Most often, the phrase do a 360 is used incorrectly when the speaker means do a 180. Remember, the expression is based on the degrees in a circle. If one travels a circle back to the 360th degree, he is back where he started from. These expressions may be derived from aviation, especially from the pioneer Charles Lindbergh, who used the phrases to describe flying maneuvers.

Examples

That irrefutable outcome of the pandemic will make retailers that have never truly developed e-commerce capabilities—or, worse, walked away from the channel—do a 180-degree turn and put a massive push behind getting their online operations into competitive shape. (Forbes Magazine)

Dr. Theresa Tam and her provincial counterparts will speak with absolute certainty on something (“Travel bans don’t work”) up until the moment they do a 180 and start saying the exact opposite. (The Toronto Sun)

“Amazon said they’re not gonna accept any shipments of non-essential products, then they did a 180 on that, but we don’t know how fluid anybody’s shipping will be.” (Variety Magazine)

“I can do a 360-degree turn and wherever I look is pure nature, I don’t need anything more.” (The Buenos Aires Times)