There are 2 main definitions of turkey in English:

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turkey 1

Pronunciation: /ˈtərkē/

noun (plural turkeys)

Image of turkey
1A large mainly domesticated game bird native to North America, having a bald head and (in the male) red wattles. It is prized as food, especially on festive occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
  • Meleagris gallopavo, family Meleagridae (or Phasianidae).
Example sentences
  • Restrictions and slaughter provisions apply to domestic fowls, turkeys, geese, ducks, guinea fowls, quail, ratites, pigeons, pheasants and partridges reared or kept in captivity.
  • It feeds primarily on deer, but its diet may also include small mammals, wild turkeys, and occasionally domestic livestock, when available.
  • Western ragweed provides forage for deer and the fruits are an important food source for upland game birds, wild turkeys and songbirds.
1.1The flesh of the turkey as food.
Example sentences
  • The experts tell vegetarians they can eat soy to take the place of real foods like turkey or steak.
  • One of my mainstays was mince - beef, pork, turkey or lamb; I didn't often mince the meat myself, as I could not afford the joint in the first place.
  • Heavy wood smoke is perfect for ribs, turkey, brisket and pork shoulder but never for a delicate chicken.
2 informal, chiefly North American Something that is extremely or completely unsuccessful, especially a play or movie.
Example sentences
  • The closest we have gotten to this genre in recent years are the various pirate turkeys and submarine films.
  • His most recent films, execrable turkeys have achieved the seemingly impossible by being even crasser and less watchable than their dismal predecessors.
  • He is collecting votes for the worst turkey film of all time.
2.1A stupid or inept person.


talk turkey

North American informal Discuss something frankly and straightforwardly.
Example sentences
  • What a cherished American tradition - to eat turkey and talk turkey at the same time.
  • Both men checked their egos and preconceived notions and talked turkey.
  • At the hearing, it was the academics who talked turkey, and took on the real world.


Mid 16th century: short for turkey cock or turkey hen, originally applied to the guinea fowl (which was imported through Turkey), and then erroneously to the American bird.

  • The turkey got its name because it had been brought to England by merchants from the eastern Mediterranean, whom the English called Turkey merchants because the whole area was then part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The new bird was called a Turkey bird or Turkey cock. Turkeys actually came from Mexico and were first brought back from there about 1520.

Words that rhyme with turkey

herky-jerky, jerky, mirky, murky, perky, quirky, smirky

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: tur·key

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There are 2 main definitions of turkey in English:

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Turkey 2

Pronunciation: /ˈtərkē/
A country located on the Anatolian peninsula in western Asia, with a small enclave in southeastern Europe west of Istanbul; population 76,805,500 (est. 2009); capital, Ankara; language, Turkish (official).

Turkey was the center of the Ottoman Empire, established in the late Middle Ages and largely maintained until its collapse at the end of World War I, in which Turkey supported the Central Powers. The nationalist leader Kemal Atatürk established the modern republic of Turkey in the 1920s. Turkey was neutral in World War II but is a member of NATO

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Tur·key

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