From Middle English toord, tord, from Old English tord (“piece of dung, excrement, filth”), from Proto-Germanic *turdą (“manure, mud”), from Proto-Indo-European *der- (“to split, flay”). Cognate with Old English tyrdel (“dropping, small piece of excrement”), Old High German zort (“dung, excrement”), Old Norse torð- (“dung-”, in compounds), Middle Dutch tord (“lump of excrement”). More at tear, treddle.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /tɜːd/
- (General American) enPR: tûrd, IPA(key): /tɝd/
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)d
turd (plural turds)
- (mildly vulgar) A piece of solid animal or human feces.
Ugh, there are turds in the toilet that haven’t been flushed away.
- 1658, John Mennes; James Smith, “A Poeticall Poem, by Mr. Stephen Locket to Mistrisse Bess Sarney”, in Wit Restor'd in Severall Select Poems Not Formerly Publish't, London: Printed for R. Pollard, N. Brooks, and T[homas] Dring, and are to be sold at the Old Exchange, and in Fleetstreet, OCLC 82393304; republished in Facetiae. Musarum Deliciae: Or, The Muses Recreation. Conteining Severall Pieces of Poetique Wit by Sr. J[ohn] M[ennes] and Ja[mes] S[mith] 1656. And Wit Restor'd, in Severall Select Poems, not Formerly Publish't. 1658. Also Wits Recreations, Selected from the Finest Fancies of Moderne Muses. With a Thousand Out-landish Proverbs. Printed from Edition 1640, with All the Wood Engravings, and Improvements of Subsequent Editions. To which are now added memoirs of Sir John Mennis and Dr. James Smith. With a Preface. In two volumes, London: Printed by T. Davison, for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1817, OCLC 230583538, page 203:
- Thy teeth more comely than two dirty rakes are, / Thy breath is stronger than a douzen jakes are. / A fart for all perfumes, a turd for roses / Smell men but thee, they wish them selves all noses.
1671, Desiderius Erasmus; H. M. [possibly Henry More or Henry Munday], transl., “The Sermon, or Merdardus”, in The Colloquies, or Familiar Discourses of Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, Rendered into English. A Work of Very Great Use to such as Desire to Attain an Exact Knowledge of the Latin Tongue, London: Printed by E. T. and R. H. for H. Brome, B. Tooke, and T. Sawbridge, at the Gun at the West-end of St. Pauls, the Ship in St Pauls Church-Yard, and the Three Flower-de-luces in Little-Britain, page 462:
- How gladly would I have ſtopt the filthy mouth of that long-tongued fellow with a turd!
1715, John Philips, The Earl of Mar Marr'd. With the Humours of Jockey, The Highlander: A Tragi-comical Farce, 2nd edition, London: Printed for E. Curll, at the Dial and Bible, against St Dunstan's Church in Fleetstreet, OCLC 723424710, Act II, scene ii, page 11:
- [H]e's nea in a Banter by my Saul, gin ye had bean bye when he wreet, ye wold ha ſeen his Face furrow'd lik a dry Cow-Turd, an his Eyn as keen as an Engliſh Bull-Dog, an his Back as high as a Camels, ſo grat was his Wrath, an now he be a Soldier it be tan Times bigger.
1737, Francis Rabelais [i.e., François Rabelais]; John Ozell, transl., “Of the Qualities and Conditions of Panurge”, in The Works of Francis Rabelais, M.D. The Second Book. Now Carefully Revised, and Compared throughout with the Late New Edition of M. Le du Chat. By Mr. Ozell. [...], book II (The Second Book of Rabelais, Treating of the Heroic Deeds and Sayings of the Good Pantagruel), London: Printed by J. Hughs, near Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, for J. Brindley, bookseller to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, at the King's-Arms in New-Bond-Street; and C. Corbett, at Addison's Head, against St. Dunstan's Church, Fleet-Street, OCLC 642372363, pages 142–143:
- When he met with any of them upon the Street, he would never fail to put ſome Trick or other upon them; ſometimes putting a fry'd Turd in their graduate Hoods; […] One Day that the Theologians were appointed all to meet in the Sorbonne, he made a Barbonneſa Tart, made of Store of Garlick, Galbanum, Aſſa fœtida, Caſtoreum, Dogs Turds very warm; which he ſteep'd, temper'd, and liquify'd in the corrupt Matter of pocky Biles and peſtiferous Botches; and, very early in the Morning, therewith anointed all the Lattices and Grates of the Sorbonne in ſuch ſort, that the Devil could not have endured it.
- 1977, Richard Adams, The Plague Dogs
- […] just as Snitter felt himself exhausted and unable to do more, Rowf's rump slid suddenly forward as smoothly as a turd from a healthy anus […]
1986 December 11, Ralph Estling, “You're a good man, Charlie Darwin”, in New Scientist, volume 112, number 1538, London: IPC Magazines, OCLC 2378350, page 56:
- Preadaptation involves the changes in a plant or animal that eventually contribute to, say, a structure that helps survival, but which take place before that structure is fully formed. […] Thus, an insect that has evolved the useful disguise of looking very much like a piece of dung in order to damp the enthusiasm of any non-coprophagous predator is clearly on to a good thing but, as Stephen Jay Gould has wisely observed, what is the adaptive value in looking only 5 per cent like a turd?
- (derogatory) A pejorative term, typically directed at a person.
2008, James Patrick Hunt, Goodbye Sister Disco, New York, N.Y.: St. Martin's Minotaur, →ISBN:
- Last year, he arrested some crankhead turd, brings him down to the station. The guy's cuffed and Fred sets him down on the bench in the booking room. Now you know Fred, right? Not an abusive guy. Never even talks smack to suspects. Well, this turd, he starts kicking and shouting, […]
2014, Stephen King, Mr. Mercedes: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Scribner, →ISBN, page 56:
- "Don't be a turd," Freddi says. "Don't be a Tones Turd." / "If telling the truth makes a man a turd, then a turd I shall be." / "Yeah," Freddi says. "You'll go down in history. Tones the Truth-Telling Turd. Kids will learn about you in school."
Whether the word should be considered an especially vulgar insult is subject to judgment, but it appears to be milder than many vulgarities in common use today.