phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Turn up for the book - another thought

Posted by Lotg on March 14, 2004

In Reply to: Turn up for the book posted by Lotg on March 14, 2004

: : : : Couldn't find any reference to this on the site - anyone know the origin ?

: : : I would guess it comes from betting, especially on horse races. The 'book' is the record that a bookmaker, ie a taker of bets, keeps. Odds are placed against each horse in a race. If one does much better, or worse for that matter, than expected it's often called a 'turn up for the book'. However, why 'turn up' eludes me.

: : Perhaps something unusual turns up? Like a bookmaker losing money!

: When we refer to a 'turn up', we're generally referring to the group who turn up (arrive, front, etc) for an event. eg. We had a good turn up that night for our dinner party, etc., meaning a good number of people turned up on the night. It can be negative too, eg. it was a lousy turn up for the barbie. In both cases, turn up can mean either a good or bad number of people turned up, or the selection of people who turned up could be good or bad.

: So maybe they're referring to the entire field of horses that turned up for a particular race - again, either quality or quantity-wise. Perhaps they mean it's a surprisingly good or bad turn up for that race, therefore a helluva turn up for the book. Just a theory.

I just entered a query (sparked by this one) on the term 'turn it up'. It got me thinking about this one again. The 'book' theory, as in bookmaker, seems a logical theory, but maybe it's in relation to cards instead of horses. Do people also keep books for some card games? Not being a serious card player or betting woman, this might be way off course.

But given you sometimes have to turn up cards to show your hand in some games, could it mean that's quite a hand of cards that was turned up? ie. turn up for the book? Dunno, just more guessing.