from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A large North American bird (Meleagris gallopavo) that has brownish plumage and a bare wattled head and neck and is widely domesticated for food.
  • noun The flesh of this bird, used as food.
  • noun A related bird (Meleagris ocelatta syn. Agriocharis ocellata) of Mexico and Central America, brilliantly colored and having eyelike spots on its tail.
  • noun A person considered inept or undesirable.
  • noun A failure, especially a failed theatrical production or movie.
  • noun Sports Three consecutive strikes in bowling.
  • idiom (talk turkey) To speak frankly about the basic facts of a matter.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A bag containing a lumber-jack's outfit.
  • noun An American gallinaceous bird of the genus Meleagris; any species of Meleagridæ. See the technical names.
  • noun The second species of Meleagris is M. ocellata, the ocellated turkey of Honduras and some other parts of Central America. This is much smaller and more beautiful than the other; the plumage is intensely lustrous, and in part eyed with iridescent ocelli, recalling those of the peacock; the bare head is deep-blue, studded with caruncles of an orange color, and no dewlap is developed.
  • noun With qualifying term, one of several different Australian birds which resemble or suggest the turkey. See phrases below.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • proper noun A country in the southeast of Europe and southwest of Asia.
  • proper noun a superior kind of carpet made in Asia Minor and adjoining countries, having a deep pile and composed of pure wool with a weft of different material. It is distinguishable by its coloring and patterns from similar carpets made in India and elsewhere.
  • proper noun (Bot.) See Cerris.
  • proper noun Cloth dyed with this red.
  • proper noun (Zoöl.) See Toilet sponge, under Sponge.
  • proper noun a kind of oilstone from Turkey; novaculite; -- called also Turkey oilstone.
  • noun (Zoöl.) Any large American gallinaceous bird belonging to the genus Meleagris, especially the North American wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), and the domestic turkey, which was probably derived from the Mexican wild turkey, but had been domesticated by the Indians long before the discovery of America.
  • noun (Bot.) a name of certain American perennial liliaceous herbs of the genus Xerophyllum. They have a dense tuft of hard, narrowly linear radical leaves, and a long raceme of small whitish flowers. Also called turkey's beard.
  • noun (Bot.) a West Indian name for the fruit of certain kinds of nightshade (Solanum mammosum, and Solanum torvum).
  • noun (Zoöl.), [Prov. Eng.] the wryneck. So called because it erects and ruffles the feathers of its neck when disturbed.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a black or nearly black buzzard (Cathartes aura), abundant in the Southern United States. It is so called because its naked and warty head and neck resemble those of a turkey. It is noted for its high and graceful flight. Called also turkey vulture.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a male turkey.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a female turkey.
  • noun (Zoöl.), [R.] a young turkey.
  • noun (Zoöl.) the turkey buzzard.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Either of two species of bird in the genus Meleagris with fan-shaped tails and wattled necks.
  • noun colloquial A failure.
  • noun slang A foolish or inept person.
  • noun bowling An act of throwing three strikes in a row.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an event that fails badly or is totally ineffectual
  • noun large gallinaceous bird with fan-shaped tail; widely domesticated for food
  • noun a Eurasian republic in Asia Minor and the Balkans; on the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, the Young Turks, led by Kemal Ataturk, established a republic in 1923
  • noun flesh of large domesticated fowl usually roasted
  • noun a person who does something thoughtless or annoying


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[After Turkey from a confusion with the guinea fowl, once believed to have originated in Turkish territory.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Turkey. The guinea fowl (Numida meleagris), native to Africa, was imported to Europe by turkey merchants. The larger northern American bird Meleagris gallopavo, thought to resemble the guinea fowl, was brought to Spain by conquistadors in 1523; from there it was introduced to northern Africa, at the time under Ottoman rule, and then via the Middle East back into Europe.


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  • You turkey!

    November 26, 2009

  • Yummmmmmmmmmyyyyyy

    November 27, 2009

  • bubblyjock, polliecock.

    May 10, 2011

  • "Until 1520, those who knew anything about the New World still thought it a part of Asia, so the pioneer ornithologist Pierre Belon gave both the duck and the turkey Asian origins. He reproduced drawings of the 'Muscovy' duck and described the turkey as from India, or 'd'Inde,' from which came dinde, the French word for turkey."

    --Joyce Appleby, Shores of Knowledge: New World Discoveries and the Scientific Imagination (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2013), p. 111

    December 28, 2016

  • "In about 1525 the turkey was introduced (to Europe), rapidly displacing the stringy 'great birds' of the medieval table. Fabulously expensive, turkeys were sold at London markets for 6 shillings a piece*, but they were well enough to be established by the 1540s for the courtier Sir William Petre to cage them with pheasants in his orchart at Ingatestone Hall."

    "*Turkeys were so called because they arrived from Mexico via trade in the Levant. By the 1570s their price had dropped to 3s 4d for a cock and 1s 8d for a hen."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 93

    January 8, 2017