Definition of cold turkey in US English:

cold turkey

noun

informal
  • The abrupt and complete cessation of taking a drug to which one is addicted.

    ‘cold turkey, with no medication, is not recommended for those with medical conditions’
    • ‘He just needs to go cold turkey, or so he tells himself.’
    • ‘Similarly, you may not be able to go cold turkey on some habit, but it may be entirely within your power every second or third day to pass up whatever currently has you in its grip. © Alan Morinis’
    • ‘So, I admit that those who go cold turkey may go through a rough time with withdrawals initially, but the majority are still non-smokers after one year.’
    • ‘If you need to go cold turkey, you need to go cold turkey.’
    • ‘Nicorette gum, patches and inhaler, acupuncture, self-help books, addiction counselling and cold turkey are the most common methods used to quit smoking.’
    • ‘He encouraged her to give up the drugs and she showed immense strength by going cold turkey and coming off heroin.’
    • ‘I've decided to go cold turkey and give up news for two weeks.’
    • ‘And like so many addicts about to face cold turkey, our leaders are now committing violent crimes to get what little is left of what we're hooked on.’
    • ‘I'd stop if I was you, maybe you need to go cold turkey and just wait until you're ready to step in to it again.’
    • ‘Those who go cold turkey may go through a rough time with withdrawals initially, but the majority are still non-smokers after one year.’
    • ‘It is crucial that no one with serious OTC medication problems attempts to go cold turkey.’
    • ‘We all certainly can't go cold turkey very easily, although some may try and succeed.’
    • ‘I've never done heroin, but I'm assuming that to cut it off and go cold turkey must be the same thing.’
    • ‘Fantasy junkies know they can't go cold turkey, though.’
    • ‘Unlike smoking, you can't go cold turkey with food.’
    • ‘You don't necessarily have to go cold turkey, but you must cut back on your fast-food consumption.’
    • ‘I didn't go cold turkey - I eased myself out of the game by being involved as an administrator and selector for a number of years.’
    • ‘And he suffers from withdrawal symptoms, like an addict does when on cold turkey, if he doesn't run for two straight days.’
    • ‘Charlie Magri, who was briefly world flyweight champion, says his sport was like a drug and retirement like doing cold turkey.’
    • ‘He went to therapy, read books on spirituality, meditated, and tried to go cold turkey.’

adverb

North American
informal
  • In a sudden and abrupt manner.

    ‘many banks have cut commercial builders off cold turkey’
    • ‘In fact, only once does he cut away to Dee Dee's quiet home life, where the recovering addict ribs his kitty about having to kick catnip cold turkey.’
    • ‘Finding a rehab centre, he quit drugs cold turkey, an accomplishment that proved more difficult than leaving the gang.’
    • ‘When I mentioned that I was weaning Leta cold turkey I got about 200 emails from The Cabbage People.’
    • ‘And when she couldn't do it with all of us watching, asking her who designed her outfit or if she was ever gonna marry Rohan or when she was gonna release a new CD, she cut us off cold turkey.’
    • ‘A network spokesperson says that doesn't mean he's quitting the news biz cold turkey.’
    • ‘I have just returned from a long Parent's Weekend in New Haven with Little Trunk, where I went cyber cold turkey.’
    • ‘I was so into it, I had to stop cold turkey, walk away and never look Jack of Diamonds in the eye again.’
    • ‘If your boyfriend does decide to go off caffeine, I would suggest cutting down incrementally - I did it cold turkey which I think was probably unnecessarily unpleasant.’
    • ‘I am quitting the column business - cold turkey.’
    • ‘As he spent the night in a Halifax holding tank, the reality hit him cold turkey: He wasn't under any charges in Canada, and never would be.’
    • ‘Many participants said they had previously tried to stop cold turkey but found it too hard so they would need to try a different method this time.’
    • ‘Ten people are unwittingly stuck in a house for a month to quit chain-smoking cold turkey.’
    • ‘It's something I have to do cold turkey, on my own, or not at all.’
    • ‘If you quit cold turkey, you're likely to experience symptoms of withdrawal, like nearly everyone else who quits smoking.’
    • ‘After winning the 26th and 27th tournaments of her career in 1985, Blalock decided to enter the business world cold turkey at age 40.’
    • ‘‘Last September I quit smoking and drinking cold turkey,’ said Tarr.’
    • ‘So I stopped cold turkey the week I returned to the office.’
    • ‘Maybe you are too addicted to quit cold turkey, but cutting back by just two packs a week could give you an extra $60 a month or more to put toward your savings.’
    • ‘Essentially, it sounds like those advocates are saying we're going to throw people in cold turkey.’
    • ‘After you've turned citizens into junkies, with government as the pusher, it's very hard to turn them back again, and even harder to get them to quit cold turkey.’

Pronunciation

cold turkey

/ˈkōl(d) ˈˌtərkē//ˈkoʊl(d) ˈˌtərki/