Are there any widely used modern synonyms for turnstile? You know, the gate you need a ticket, badge, or barcode in order to pass through. Nowadays, I don't see any with an actual metal-pole turning mechanism, just a little set of doors that opens and closes when you scan your ID, so using the word turnstile seems kind of antiquated.

Example sentence:

"For our trip tomorrow, let's meet at the station just outside the turnstiles."

Except they're not turnstiles, because it's no longer a "post with a number of short poles sticking out from it that have to be pushed round as each person walks through the entrance" (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/turnstile)

  • With my kids, I used "spinny-thing," but that's probably not what you're looking for.
    – Stu W
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 1:00
  • Turnstile or toll gate, when payment is involved. Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 1:02
  • How about "security gate"?
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 1:06
  • I mean, ya still cuttin' and pastin' in MS Word. Where da scissors and glue? It's herd memory, for now. Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 3:33
  • 2
    It is not uncommon for the terminology associated with some form of technology to be transferred to a different form of technology that performs the same function: think of dialing and ringing.
    – jsw29
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 15:51

4 Answers 4


Taking my cue from your example sentence

"For our trip tomorrow, let's meet at the station just outside the turnstiles."

Each individual device that you pass through to enter or exit a rail station is a ticket barrier.

Mind you, to go by what Google came up with when I googled the phrase, it seems that even the ticket barrier might soon be a thing of the past. Articles in the Daily Telegraph and the Independent on plans to replace them with sensors. Tripadvisor Q&A about present-day rail station ticket barriers.

A line of them is called a gateline or gate line, though this might be a more technical term.


Even something fancy like this is still called a turnstile:

turnstile with doors

This particular item is a 2MGST-5 Face Recognition and Thermal Detection Access Control Swing Turnstile. There are many similar examples out there such as in Flexibility, Efficiency, and Security: The Benefits of Optical Turnstiles.

Alternatively it can be called a gate.


I searched images. This is called a turnstyle/turnstile:


see HERE for lots of related terminology.

  • @spacetyper Unfortunately you do not know what you are saying. The modern word for turnstile is still turnstile. If you’re looking for synonyms, you could have avoided this question altogether and used one of a myriad of thesaurus services available for free.
    – Stan Strum
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 6:35

Faregate in mass-transit rail stations

WMATA (link is to pdf, quote from page 11)

Every Metrorail station mezzanine has an extra-wide faregate to make access easier.


The Richmond BART Station now has a newly designed accessible fare gate prototype to test BART’s next generation of faregates.

And wikipedia

Thus a turnstile can be used in the case of paid access (sometimes called a faregate or ticket barrier when used for this purpose), for example to access public transport, a pay toilet, or to restrict access to authorized people, for example in the lobby of an office building.

  • Is this an American term? In the UK, ticket gate or ticket barrier seems more common.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Sep 2, 2022 at 9:09

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