surf and turf

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a steak served with seafood or fish, especially filet mignon and lobster.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does surf and turf mean?

Surf and turf is a dish consisting of both seafood and meat, usually lobster and steak.

The word surf is a fanciful way of referring to the ocean or sea, where seafood comes from, and the word turf refers to grass or land—where cows graze. Surf and turf is basically a shorter and more fun way of saying meat and seafood together in a single dish. An abbreviated form of the term is surf-’n’-turf (which is sometimes spelled without the hyphens and with a different combination of apostrophes or none at all).

When it refers to a particular dish on a menu, it’s typically used with the article the, and not a, as in I’d like to order the surf and turf (not a surf and turf).

Because it essentially includes two main courses, surf and turf is usually considered an indulgent meal. Since steak and lobster are both usually expensive by themselves, surf and turf can be expensive.

Although the classic surf and turf combination is lobster and steak, it can also include other kinds of seafood, such as shrimp or crab, and other types of meat, such as prime rib.

Example: My favorite kind of surf and turf is shrimp piled on top of filet mignon.

Where does surf and turf come from?

The first records of the term surf and turf come from around the 1960s.

At restaurants, especially steakhouses, surf and turf usually involves a lobster tail and a steak, such as filet mignon or sirloin. But the term can be used to refer to all kinds of combinations of seafood and meat, especially when people use it to refer to something they’ve cooked at home (a dish of chicken and shrimp might be called surf and turf, for example). A similar but less common name for a seafood and meat combo is beef and reef.

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What are some other forms related to surf and turf?

What are some synonyms for surf and turf?

  • beef and reef
  • steak and seafood
  • meat and seafood

What are some words that share a root or word element with surf and turf? 


What are some words that often get used in discussing surf and turf?


How is surf and turf used in real life?

Surf and turf most commonly involves lobster and steak, but it can refer to a number of combinations of seafood and meat.




Try using surf and turf!

Is surf and turf used correctly in the following sentence?

The surf and turf special tonight consists of mussels and scallops drenched in a garlic-butter sauce.