Definition of turf in English:

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Pronunciation: /tərf/

noun (plural turfs or turves /tərvz/)

1Grass and the surface layer of earth held together by its roots: they walked across the springy turf
More example sentences
  • Fall is the season to plant trees, turf grasses and spring-blooming flower bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses.
  • She opened her eyes just in time to impact roughly among a sward of yellow-green grass into soft turf.
  • Unlike grass, the durable turf can be used continuously, providing optimal playing and practice conditions at all times.
grass, lawn, sod
1.1British A piece of grass and the surface layer of earth underneath it, cut from the ground.
1.2Peat used for fuel.
Example sentences
  • The profit of turbary is the right to cut turf or peat, usually in order to burn it.
  • In the surrounding fields, peat or turf is still cut, including by our guide, for fuel.
  • The island had no trees and winter fuel was mainly turf, cut from a bog on the mainland.
2 (the turf) Horse racing or racecourses generally: he spent his money gambling on the turf
More example sentences
  • In his previous effort, Funfair won the Troy Stakes on August 20 at Saratoga Race Course over yielding turf.
  • The new track planned for Great Leighs is another nail in the coffin for turf horseracing in this country.
  • Once the track is finished, Kempton will no longer offer flat racing on the turf, which will be reserved for steeplechase events.
3 informal An area regarded as someone’s personal territory; one’s home ground: the team will play Canada on their home turf this summer
More example sentences
  • There's a powerful sense of entropy, particularly when you see nature struggling to reclaim an artificial area as its turf.
  • Scholars engaged in this battle argue that they are not only protecting their academic turf, but preserving the life of their discipline.
  • Each knew the other's gifts, each took care not to trespass on the other person's turf.
territory, domain, province, preserve, sphere of influence;
stomping ground, stamping ground;
3.1A person’s sphere of influence or activity: we’re in similar businesses but we cover different turf
More example sentences
  • I'm not trying to hold on to the turf of my committee as chairman of the armed services.


1 [with object] informal, chiefly British Force (someone) to leave somewhere: they were turfed off the bus
More example sentences
  • More than 30 people were turfed out of Norfolk House, Brookmill Road, Deptford, following an early morning raid.
  • It seems to mean that these people are simply turfed out into the streets.
  • PJ was the first to be ‘evicted’ for nibbling Helen's ears, Craig was turfed out for gnawing the cage, and Penny was thrown out for pinching food rations.
2 [with object] (often as adjective turfed) Cover (a patch of ground) with turf: a turfed lawn
More example sentences
  • The ground will then be turfed, meaning the children will finally be able to enjoy games on their brand new school field.
  • Small, lateral roots that replace the rotted ones give the root system a matter or turfed appearance.
  • The roofs were thatched, turfed or covered in wood shingles, depending on available local resources.


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch turf and German Torf, from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit darbha 'tuft of grass'.

  • The Old English word turf goes back to a root shared by darbha ‘tuft of grass’ in Sanskrit, the ancient language of northern India. The grass surface of a racecourse has led horseracing to be the turf since the mid 18th century. The turf in surf-and-turf, a dish containing both shellfish and steak, represents the lush prairies or meadows on which beef cattle graze and the bounty of the sea. Since the 1950s criminals or street gangs have their own turf, an area of personal territory, the source also of turf wars [1970s].

Words that rhyme with turf

scurf, serf, surf

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: turf

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