Turn-up for the book/books

Origin of: Turn-up for the book/books

Turn-up for the book/books

A turn up for the book is something completely unexpected and surprising and dates from the 1930s. It derives from horseracing where the book is the bookmaker’s book or tally of bets. A rank outsider winning a race would represent a windfall for a bookmaker and would be a nice turn up for the book. In America, the expression is a turn up for the books, in the plural.