Old English turf, tyrf "slab of soil and grass," also "surface of grassland," from Proto-Germanic *turb- (cf. Old Norse torf, Danish tørv, Old Frisian turf, Old High German zurba, German Torf), from PIE root *drbh- (cf. Sanskrit darbhah "tuft of grass").
French tourbe "turf" is a Germanic loan-word. The Old English plural was identical with the singluar, 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.
early 15c., "to cover (ground) with turf," from turf (n.). Related: Turfed; turfing.
A thoroughly despised person; creep; turd