noun, plural turfs, (especially British) turves [turvz]. /tɜrvz/.
- the neighborhood over which a street gang asserts its authority.
- a familiar area, as of residence or expertise: Denver is her turf. When you talk literature you're getting into my turf.
- the track over which horse races are run.
- the practice or sport of racing horses.
verb (used with object)
THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ IS HARDLY A DODDLE!
Origin of turf
OTHER WORDS FROM turfturfless, adjectiveturflike, adjectivere·turf, verb (used with object)un·turfed, adjective
Words nearby turf
What does turf mean?
Turf is the top layer of a grassy area consisting of a kind of mat of grass and its roots. It’s the layer you could cut out and pull up in one piece.
Such pieces are in fact pulled up and used to form lawns. This is also called turf. A close synonym is sod. Artificial turf is a surface that’s supposed to resemble a grassy surface, such as is sometimes used on sports fields. A name for one kind of this is Astroturf.
Turf is also a term for the area that a gang claims as its exclusive territory. This sense of turf can also be used more casually to refer to a physical or figurative area that one claims as one’s own, such as an area of expertise, as in Advertising is my turf, so please stick to accounting. This use of the word turf is used in the phrases turf war and home turf.
Example: My cat claimed my dog’s bed as her turf, and the dog’s not happy about it.
Where does turf come from?
The first records of the word turf come from before the 900s. It’s related to the Old Norse torfa, the Old High German zurba, and the Sanskrit darbha, meaning “tuft of grass.”
Turf isn’t just grass, but grass is part of it. Together with dirt, the roots of all the grass growing in a field or pasture form a kind of thickly matted layer over the rest of the soil. This top layer is called turf. Sometimes, turf is grown like a crop, to be cut, rolled up, and planted in lawns or other places. This is also called sod.
The phrase the turf is sometimes used to refer to a horse racing track, or horse racing in general.
The first records of turf to refer to gang territory come from the 1900s, but similar senses were used earlier. This meaning has become extended to more casual use: saying something is your turf is the same as saying it’s your territory, meaning you have authority or expertise in it or some other claim to it. The phrase home turf refers to one’s usual surroundings, such as one’s neighborhood or hometown. It’s commonly used in sports to refer to a team’s “home” stadium, court, field, or other playing area—whether it’s covered in turf or not.
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What are some other forms related to turf?
- turfs (plural)
- turves (alternate plural sometimes used in British English)
- turfless (adjective)
- turflike (adjective)
- returf (verb)
- unturfed (verb)
What are some synonyms for turf?
What are some words that share a root or word element with turf?
What are some words that often get used in discussing turf?
How is turf used in real life?
When it refers to gang territory or it’s used in a similar way, turf is a slang term that’s typically used informally.
We love Dad's new bouncy turf and are doing our best to wreck it👍
It won't take us long. pic.twitter.com/a70Kb2yMVA
— Furzey & Thor⚡ (@FurzeyRetriever) May 10, 2020
Cracks me up when England fans get so dewy-eyed and swollen with pride about Euro 96, when they only made it to the semis on their home turf, then they laugh at Wales fans for banging on about reaching the semis of France 2016.
— Simon Price (@simon_price01) May 11, 2020
— Shawn Brown (@Pencilzord) May 8, 2020
Try using turf!
True or False?
When it’s used to refer to exclusive territory, tu,irf is always used in the context of gangs.
Example sentences from the Web for turf
For the acorn woodpecker, turf wars aren’t just violent and potentially fatal—they’re a spectator sport.Blood, death, and eye gouging: welcome to the world of acorn woodpeckers|Kate Baggaley|September 9, 2020|Popular Science
There might be some opportunities on trade and tax policy, but those will exist about 75 percent on Republican turf.Inside the Democrats’ Godawful Midterm Election Wipeout|Michael Tomasky|November 5, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The Democratic Party is defending more than a half-dozen seats on Republican-friendly turf.Dark Money Will Decide Which Party Controls the Senate|Center for Public Integrity|October 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Obama traveled to Tampa Wednesday to meet with Austin about the ISIS strategy on his own turf.Can Obama Keep His Generals in Check in the War Against ISIS?|Eli Lake, Josh Rogin|September 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Perhaps thanks to the surf and turf and the stellar Bordeaux and Sauvignon Blanc, there were no lost tempers.Up To A Point: My Problem With People Who Agree With Me|P. J. O’Rourke|July 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Argentina and Belgium, earlier in the day, had fought out a fascinating duel, not unlike chess on turf.Costa Rica vs. the Netherlands: A Tale of Two Goalies|Tunku Varadarajan|July 5, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Turf benches to seat a hundred and fifty worshippers faced the altar.Pushed and the Return Push|George Herbert Fosdike Nichols, (AKA Quex)
Mr. Gurney was a patron of the Turf and a genuine lover of old English sports, but he was never known to bet.Norfolk Annals|Charles Mackie
My wife goes to St. Louis to-morrow and I shall be on the turf for one long week.Eugene Field, A Study In Heredity And Contradictions|Slason Thompson
Soon, seated on the turf, the story of each child was related.
Laying him flat on the turf, the doctor began to examine him.The Yellow Rose|Mr Jkai
British Dictionary definitions for turf
noun plural turfs or turves (tɜːvz)
- a track, usually of grass or dirt, where horse races are run
- horse racing as a sport or industry