from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A surface layer of earth containing a dense growth of grass and its matted roots; sod.
  • n. An artificial substitute for such a grassy layer, as on a playing field.
  • n. A piece cut from a layer of earth or sod.
  • n. A piece of peat that is burned for use as fuel.
  • n. Slang The range of the authority or influence of a person, group, or thing; a bailiwick: "a bureaucracy ... concerned with turf, promotions, the budget, and protecting the retirement system” ( Harper's).
  • n. Slang A geographical area; a territory.
  • n. Slang The area claimed by a gang, as of youths, as its personal territory.
  • n. Sports A racetrack.
  • n. Sports The sport or business of racing horses.
  • transitive v. To spread with turf: turfed the front yard.
  • transitive v. Chiefly British Slang To displace or eject.
  • transitive v. Slang To kill: "These guys can't . . . make sure nobody gets turfed” ( Scott Turow).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a layer of earth covered with grass; sod
  • n. a piece of such a layer cut from the soil and used to make a lawn
  • n. a sod of peat used as fuel.
  • n. the territory claimed by a person, gang, etc. as their own
  • n. a racetrack; or the sport of racing horses
  • v. to create a lawn by laying turfs
  • v. To throw a frisbee well short of its intended target, usually causing it to hit the ground within 10 yards of its release.
  • v. To fire from a job or dismiss from a task.
  • v. To cancel a project or product.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That upper stratum of earth and vegetable mold which is filled with the roots of grass and other small plants, so as to adhere and form a kind of mat; sward; sod.
  • n. Peat, especially when prepared for fuel. See Peat.
  • n. Race course; horse racing; -- preceded by the.
  • transitive v. To cover with turf or sod.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cover with turf or sod: as, to turf a bank or border.
  • n. The surface or sward of grass-land, consisting of earth or mold filled with the roots of grass and other small plants, so as to adhere and form a kind of mat; earth covered with grass.
  • n. A piece of such earth or mold dug or torn from the ground; a sod.
  • n. In Ireland, same as peat. See peat.
  • n. The turn of a cap, hood, or sleeve.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cover (the ground) with a surface layer of grass or grass roots
  • n. range of jurisdiction or influence
  • n. surface layer of ground containing a mat of grass and grass roots
  • n. the territory claimed by a juvenile gang as its own


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old English.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English turf, torf, from Old English turf ("turf, sod, soil, piece of grass covered earth, greensward"), from Proto-Germanic *turbaz (“turf, lawn”), from Proto-Indo-European *dorbh- (“tuft, grass”). Cognate with Dutch turf ("turf"), Low German torf ("turf"), German dialectal Turbe ("turf"), German Torf ("peat, turf"), Swedish torf ("turf"), Icelandic torf ("turf"), Sanskrit  (darbha, "a kind of grass").



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  • "Hof in Öræfi has been an ecclesiastical site for almost 700 years and is first mentioned in a cartulary from 1343. Hofskirkja Church was dedicated to Saint Clement. The core of the current church at Hof was built in 1884 and was the last turf church built in the old Icelandic architectural style. Its walls are assembled of rocks and its roof made of stone slabs, covered in turf. The reredos (an altarpiece, or a screen or decoration behind the altar in a church) in Hofskirkja Church was painted by the artist Ólafur Túbals. Hofskirkja Church is one of six churches, in Iceland still standing which are preserved as historical monuments. It is recorded that Páll Pálsson, a carpenter, built the church, but Þorsteinn Gissurarson, a blacksmith from Hof forged the building hardware, the lock, and hinges. The church is maintained by the National Museum but also serves as a parish church."

    May 12, 2016

  • "CATHLEEN: Give me the ladder, and I'll put them up in the turf-loft, the way she won't know of them at all, and maybe when the tide turns she'll be going down to see would he be floating from the east.

    (They put the ladder against the gable of the chimney; Cathleen goes up a few steps and hides the bundle in the turf-loft. Maurya comes from the inner room.)

    MAURYA (Looking up at Cathleen and speaking querulously.): Isn't it turf enough you have for this day and evening?

    CATHLEEN: There's a cake baking at the fire for a short space. (Throwing down the turf) and Bartley will want it when the tide turns if he goes to Connemara.

    (Nora picks up the turf and puts it round the pot-oven.)"

    - J. M. Synge, 'Riders to the Sea'.

    December 13, 2008