Main definitions of turkey in English

: turkey1Turkey2



  • 1A large mainly domesticated game bird native to North America, having a bald head and (in the male) red wattles. It is a popular food on festive occasions such as Christmas and (in the US) Thanksgiving.

    Meleagris gallopavo, family Meleagridae (or Phasianidae)

    • ‘All species of poultry - large fowl, bantams, waterfowl and turkeys - are kept by thousands of people as pets or simply because they have the space and like to see them around.’
    • ‘Rifles are legal for wild turkey hunting in some areas.’
    • ‘Western ragweed provides forage for deer and the fruits are an important food source for upland game birds, wild turkeys and songbirds.’
    • ‘Birds at the farm include 35 chickens, eight peafowl, a pair of bronze turkeys, geese, domestic ducks and 50 exotic birds ranging from a finch to a macaw parrot in an outdoor aviary.’
    • ‘It feeds primarily on deer, but its diet may also include small mammals, wild turkeys, and occasionally domestic livestock, when available.’
    • ‘Both domestic and wild turkeys are very susceptible to infection when they are young but appear to develop parasite species- or strain-specific immunological resistance as they age.’
    • ‘Restrictions and slaughter provisions apply to domestic fowls, turkeys, geese, ducks, guinea fowls, quail, ratites, pigeons, pheasants and partridges reared or kept in captivity.’
    • ‘A good display of chickens, boiling fowls and rabbits has replaced Christmas turkeys.’
    • ‘The area is home to a variety of other birds, including nesting bald eagles, hawks, owls, bluebirds and several other songbirds, wild turkeys, herons, and waterfowl.’
    • ‘A wild turkey gobbled, and we returned to camp for dinner beneath a full moon.’
    • ‘Some domestic breeds such as turkeys have very colourful feathers.’
    1. 1.1mass noun The flesh of the turkey as food.
      • ‘Vix went for a festive option, escalopes of turkey stuffed with cranberry and lemon with sage.’
      • ‘Eat a range of meats for protein; include chicken, turkey, lean red meat, fish and lean pork in your diet.’
      • ‘Carmella served three kinds of meat including: turkey, beef, and turtle.’
      • ‘The experts tell vegetarians they can eat soy to take the place of real foods like turkey or steak.’
      • ‘Demand for poultry has grown steadily for decades, and U.S. consumers now eat more chicken and turkey than red meat.’
      • ‘The rabbit itself tasted fine - a cross between chicken, turkey, and pork.’
      • ‘Perhaps no pairing is greater than that of turkey with cranberry sauce.’
      • ‘I took it to the kitchen and cut through the black coat to discover moist turkey meat inside.’
      • ‘Change the water every 30 minutes until turkey is thawed.’
      • ‘Prizes on the lines are turkey, ham, meat vouchers, whiskey and wine.’
      • ‘Stuff wheat bread with lean cold cuts such as turkey, ham or roast beef, then add tomatoes, lettuce and peppers to give your child a healthy serving of vegetables.’
      • ‘Why does cranberry go with turkey, or Chablis with oysters?’
      • ‘Heavy wood smoke is perfect for ribs, turkey, brisket and pork shoulder but never for a delicate chicken.’
      • ‘She sighed to herself and undid the green wrapping that encased her bagel, turkey, and Monterey Jack cheese sandwich.’
      • ‘The Spring 2002, we ordered our first heritage turkey from Slow Food in New York.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This pre-Christmas recipe calls for minced fresh turkey meat, preferably from a free-range, organic bird.’
      • ‘The best protein sources to include in your diet include chicken, beef, turkey, tuna, salmon, eggs, and low-fat cottage cheese.’
      • ‘I love burgers so much and now I can't eat what I want when I want, veggie burgers and turkey burgers replace the steak - I cook them on the grill.’
      • ‘The county's farms are recognised as producing some of the country's best turkey, beef, sausages and hams.’
  • 2North American informal Something that is extremely or completely unsuccessful, especially a play or film.

    ‘the movie flopped—the second in a trio of turkeys’
    • ‘His most recent films, execrable turkeys have achieved the seemingly impossible by being even crasser and less watchable than their dismal predecessors.’
    • ‘The closest we have gotten to this genre in recent years are the various pirate turkeys and submarine films.’
    • ‘He is collecting votes for the worst turkey film of all time.’
    1. 2.1 A stupid or inept person.
      ‘I felt like such a turkey spying on his house’
      idiot, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, buffoon, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clod
      View synonyms


  • like turkeys voting for Christmas

    • informal Used to suggest that a particular action or decision is hopelessly self-defeating.

      ‘such a move by Liberal Democrats would be like turkeys voting for Christmas’
      • ‘I don't think councillors will vote for this with an election looming, it would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.’
      • ‘The members who have been kept at arm's length will dutifully behave like turkeys voting for Christmas.’
      • ‘It is my belief for fishermen to accept this would be like turkeys voting for Christmas.’
      • ‘Most of the clubs are in exactly the same position and like turkeys voting for Christmas, they created the situation themselves.’
      • ‘When politicians actively cut taxes, they are like turkeys voting for Christmas.’
  • talk turkey

    • informal Discuss something frankly and straightforwardly.

      ‘she promised to go talk turkey with the representatives’
      • ‘It's easy to talk turkey on traditional strategies like building an extension to facilitate more manufacturing.’
      • ‘As it happens, he was one of the few politicians willing to talk turkey about tax.’
      • ‘What a cherished American tradition - to eat turkey and talk turkey at the same time.’
      • ‘It's been an opportunity to talk turkey about poetry.’
      • ‘Both men checked their egos and preconceived notions and talked turkey.’
      • ‘No venue has been set as yet for this coming Christmas, but the usual suspects will talk turkey at some point.’
      • ‘Because you genuinely like this family and have proven your friendship, you need to talk turkey to Jane, explaining what parents are for.’
      • ‘At the hearing, it was the academics who talked turkey, and took on the real world.’
      • ‘So, are you ready to talk turkey about your project?’
      • ‘Can anyone really talk turkey about something as personal as a show they've written and performed?’
      confer, discuss, talk, talk things over, have a talk, exchange views, have discussions, converse, communicate, parley
      View synonyms


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




Main definitions of turkey in English

: turkey1Turkey2


proper noun

  • A country comprising the whole of the Anatolian peninsula in western Asia, with a small portion in south-eastern Europe to the west of Istanbul; population 78,700,000 (estimated 2015); official language, Turkish; capital, Ankara.

Turkey was the centre of the Ottoman Empire, established in the late Middle Ages and largely maintained until its collapse at the end of the First World War, 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 the Second World War but is a member of NATO