\ˈtərf \
plural turfs\ ˈtərfs \ also turves\ ˈtərvz \

Definition of turf 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the upper stratum of soil bound by grass and plant roots into a thick mat also : a piece of this

b : an artificial substitute for this (as on a playing field)

c : grass sense 3

2a : territory considered by a gang to be under its control

b : territory sense 2 have to play two of the last three games on hostile turf— Joe Klein in chapter two, the author is on unfamiliar turf also : a sphere of activity or influence people who could hurt him on his own foreign-policy turf Wall Street Jour.

3a : a track or course for horse racing

b : the sport or business of horse racing

4a : peat sense 2

b : a piece of peat dried for fuel


turfed; turfing; turfs

Definition of turf (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to cover with turf

2 chiefly British : to eject forcibly : kick usually used with out

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Other Words from turf


turfy \ ˈtər-​fē \ adjective

Examples of turf in a Sentence


a lawn made by laying turfs Synthetic turf was installed in the playing field instead of grass. playing fields with artificial turfs The team played on home turf.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The sun reaches the bare soil causing it to dry out more quickly, and weeds are better able to invade the lethargic turf. Neil Sperry, star-telegram, "Here’s your gardening to-do list for the second part of the summer," 11 July 2018 Rhew said that spectators in Memorial Stadium should leave fold-out chairs at home to avoid turf damage, and try to take public transit to get to the show due to increased traffic. Rachel Jones, charlotteobserver, "Fireworks return to Memorial Stadium after five years. Here's what you need to know.," 2 July 2018 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Step into Lambeau Field Live at Summerfest and you will be greeted by the sight of bright green turf and the smell of sizzling bacon. Elena Weissmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lambeau Field Live at Summerfest features the Packers, virtual reality and crispy bacon," 1 July 2018 Davis Cup versus ATP World Team Cup—animates the worst kind of interoffice turf war. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Wimbledon Midterm Grades," 7 July 2018 Swaths of the country remain under the bloody sway of criminal gangs fighting turf wars. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Mexicans Say They Will Vote for Change," 29 June 2018 Meanwhile, troopers have been locked in a turf war with Boston Police over patrolling the Seaport District, a task that is heavily reliant on overtime and detail pay, which boosts the ultimate take-home compensation for troopers. Kay Lazar, BostonGlobe.com, "Records reveal trooper posts that are overtime all the time," 23 June 2018 The idea of changing a key mission of the FDA comes amid a turf war between the FDA and the USDA. Ike Swetlitz, STAT, "White House proposes a narrowing of FDA’s mission — and a new name," 21 June 2018 Piling complication upon complication, a new subplot introduces a rival gang of Atlanta drug dealers, named Sno Patrol for their white suits, white cars and white firearms, who run afoul of the play-it-cool Priest and ignite a brutal turf war. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "'Superfly' is a flashy, violent and fitfully compelling remake of the 1972 blaxploitation hit," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And with 52 of 55 seats on the council held by Labour, there was little prospect of the party being turfed out and the company shut down by a new administration. The Economist, "Robin Hood Energy, the company bringing power to the people," 3 May 2018 Damaged property, Zaremba Drive: A Zaremba resident called police at about 4:30 p.m. April 20 and said that earlier in the day, a silver sport-utility vehicle turfed his front lawn. Bob Sandrick, cleveland.com, "Drunk driver passes out behind wheel of SUV; silver SUV turfs lawn, hits garbage can: Brook Park police blotter," 4 May 2018 South Korea, after decades under strongmen who were less repressive but nevertheless still iron-fisted, has emerged as a democracy so vibrant that citizens peacefully turfed a president from office last year. Anna Fifield, Washington Post, "Talk of peace with North Korea has the South wondering: Will this time be different?," 28 Apr. 2018 Schools that are turfing their baseball/softball fields have their phones ringing constantly. Scott Springer, Cincinnati.com, "Springer: Basketball banners hung 3 miles apart; baseball off to a soggy start," 30 Mar. 2018 He was dumped as the nation’s president eight months later in a foreshadowing of how Zuma himself would be turfed out 10 years later. Bloomberg.com, "Zuma’s Exit Ends ‘One-Man Disaster’ That Roiled His Nation," 14 Feb. 2018 Riddled by infighting, the party has failed to present a coherent vision for the country since being turfed out of power by Abe in a 2012 landslide after three years in government. Andy Sharp, Bloomberg.com, "Japan's Opposition Picks New Leader to Challenge Slumping Abe," 31 Aug. 2017 Damage to property, Chagrin Boulevard: A resident reported on June 9 that somebody ran into his mailbox and turfed his lawn. Thomas Jewell, cleveland.com, "Woman hospitalized after hitting light pole: Moreland Hills police blotter," 15 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'turf.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of turf


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for turf


Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German zurba turf, Sanskrit darbha tuft of grass

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Dictionary Entries near turf





turf accountant

turf ant


Statistics for turf

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for turf

The first known use of turf was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for turf



English Language Learners Definition of turf

: the upper layer of ground that is made up of grass and plant roots

: a square piece of turf cut out of the ground that is used for making lawns

: a material that looks like grass and that is used especially to cover athletic fields


\ˈtərf \

Kids Definition of turf

1 : the upper layer of soil bound into a thick mat by roots of grass and other plants

2 : land covered with grass

3 : an area that is or is felt to be under an individual's control Fluffy won't allow any other dogs on his turf.

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Comments on turf

What made you want to look up turf? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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