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turf (n.)

Old English turf, tyrf "slab of soil and grass, sod," also "surface of grassland," from Proto-Germanic *turfa- (source also of Old Norse torf, Danish tørv, Old Frisian turf, Old High German zurba, German Torf), from PIE root *drebh- "to wind, compress" (source also of Sanskrit darbhah "tuft of grass").

Especially "the race course," hence the turf "the profession of racing horses" (1755). French tourbe "turf" is a Germanic loan-word. The Old English plural was identical with the singular, but in Middle English turves sometimes was used. Slang meaning "territory claimed by a gang" is attested from 1953 in Brooklyn, N.Y.; earlier it had a jive talk sense of "the street, the sidewalk" (1930s), which is attested in hobo use from 1899, and before that "the work and venue of a prostitute" (1860). Turf war is recorded from 1962.

turf (v.)

early 15c., "to cover (ground) with turf," from turf (n.). Related: Turfed; turfing.

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Definitions of turf from WordNet
1
turf (n.)
surface layer of ground containing a mat of grass and grass roots;
Synonyms: sod / sward / greensward
turf (n.)
the territory claimed by a juvenile gang as its own;
turf (n.)
range of jurisdiction or influence;
a bureaucracy...chiefly concerned with turf...and protecting the retirement system
2
turf (v.)
cover (the ground) with a surface layer of grass or grass roots;
From wordnet.princeton.edu