Turf accountant - Bookie

TimLA

Member Emeritus
English - US
Good morning!

I'm looking for the help of our BE experts.

One of my favorite British Comedy series is "Keeping up Appearances", in which Hyacinth ("Bouquet" instead of "Bucket":D)
always tries to "put on airs" so to speak. (If you've never seen it, get the DVDs! They are hilarious!:))

Her brother-in-law is fairly well-off (swimming pool, Mercedes and room for a pony :)) and she let's everyone know that he is rich.

She always refers to him as a "turf accountant". I really had never heard of a "turf accountant",
so I looked it up and found it as a synonym for "bookie".
Her "other" brother-in-law (Onslo, the ne'er do well) always uses the word "bookie".

In AE, we would use "bookie" for the person who sponsors illegal betting on just about anything.
It's possible that they are legal in Las Vegas, or Atlantic City,
but generally "bookie" has a negative connotation.

This has raised a series of questions:
1. Is Hyacinth using "turf account" only to sound "posh" to make the story consistent as much as possible?
2. In your mind, is there a difference between a "bookie" and a "turf accountant"?
3. If you were thinking about going to the local betting shop/office (I've forgotten the BE name for it),
what is the word you would use for the person who works there - "bookie" or "turf accountant"?

Toodle pip!
I'll say hello to Hyacinth!:)
 
  • Dlyons

    Senior Member
    English - Ireland
    Good morning!

    I'm looking for the help of our BE experts.

    This has raised a series of questions:
    1. Is Hyacinth using "turf account" only to sound "posh" to make the story consistent as much as possible? :tick:

    2. In your mind, is there a difference between a "bookie" and a "turf accountant"? No

    3. If you were thinking about going to the local betting shop/office (I've forgotten the BE name for it), what is the word you would use for the person who works there - "bookie" or "turf accountant"?

    I'd go to the "bookies" and make a bet with the "bookie.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'd answer the three questions in exactly the same way as Dlyons.

    I was very sorry to see Onslow described as a n'er do well. I can't see that there is anything at all vicious about sitting watching television all afternoon drinking lager, with a large hairy dog on your lap eating your potato crisps.
     

    TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    1. Is Hyacinth using "turf account" only to sound "posh" to make the story consistent as much as possible? :tick:
    2. In your mind, is there a difference between a "bookie" and a "turf accountant"? No
    3. If you were thinking about going to the local betting shop/office (I've forgotten the BE name for it), what is the word you would use for the person who works there - "bookie" or "turf accountant"?
    I'd go to the "bookies" and make a bet with the "bookie.
    Excellent! Thanks!

    I'd answer the three questions in exactly the same way as Dlyons.
    I was very sorry to see Onslow described as a n'er do well. I can't see that there is anything at all vicious about sitting watching television all afternoon drinking lager, with a large hairy dog on your lap eating your potato crisps.
    Onslow is my HERO!:) He and "Dickie" are the two rational people in the whole program.
    I do exactly the same thing - except my TV is a monitor connected to WR forums!
    But I don't have to pound on it to make it work.:D

    Me too, Tim. Turf accountant is (in my mind at least) practically a euphemism for bookie ... in the same way that household waste removal operative is a euphemism for binman.
    Mr.T, I am shocked that you even know who these people are:D
    :tick:
    And I thank you all very much!
    More questions on British comedy to come!:):thumbsup:
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'd just like to point out that "bookie" is short for "bookmaker", which is a bit more formal. I grew up practically next door to a racecourse and we always talked about "bookmakers" or "bookies". I noticed the much more formal or euphemistic term "turf accountant" when placing off-course bets at betting shops became legal (1961).
     

    Mrs JJJ

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (British)
    I think that "turf accountant" is also the official name of such a business - i.e. what's on the official documents for the business. Because that's what I remember seeing on the signs above their doors. In my family we'd say "betting shop". But I think people use various terms and the only important point is that the one thing no one (well, for safety's sake, almost no one :)) would actually say is "I'm going to the turf accountant's!"

    I have to admit that although I obviously know about Hyacinth Bucket, I haven't yet watched the programmes (I know - I really should do so!) Isn't Hyacinth a bit dim, as well as a snob? If so, does part of the comedy stem from the fact that she doesn't actually understand what her brother does for a living? Or that she genuinely hopes those she tells won't know that 'a turf accountant' is very different from what most people understand by 'an accountant"?
     
    Last edited:

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't use the term "turf accountant". I say "bookies" and "betting shop". Above the door of my local betting shop stands the word "Bookmaker".

    At post 1, TimLA says he associates the word "bookies" with illegal betting. The word doesn't have that connotation for me.

    "Turf accountant" is in any case too narrow a term, since bookies take bets on all kinds of sports, football in particular. I am surprised that betting shops still exist, what with all the betting via mobile phones that goes on now. I've seen people pay good money to watch a football match, only to spend the whole time bashing away at the mobile phone while talking about odds:confused:.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top