Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


I supposed this to be a custom with the colored population of Turkey, and passed on.

But it is in the direction of Turkey that all the solid advances are made.

The Montenegrins declared war on Turkey and joined forces with Servia.

Thus was Turkey humiliated and Russia benefited, having obtained her demands.

November 1st, Turkey was forced by Russia to agree to an armistice of eight weeks.

Russia sought to extend her conquests south and to seize upon Turkey.

Lads of Zuñi took my egg and hatched it under a turkey hen, at the Ant Hill.

It is covered with Turkey red and has a roll cushion for his head.

Light some writing paper, and singe the hairs from the skin of the turkey.

With a turkey, there should be on the table a ham, or a smoked tongue.


1540s, "guinea fowl" (Numida meleagris), imported from Madagascar via Turkey, by Near East traders known as turkey merchants. The larger North American bird (Meleagris gallopavo) was domesticated by the Aztecs, introduced to Spain by conquistadors (1523) and thence to wider Europe, by way of North Africa (then under Ottoman rule) and Turkey (Indian corn was originally turkey corn or turkey wheat in English for the same reason).

The word turkey was first applied to it in English 1550s because it was identified with or treated as a species of the guinea fowl. The Turkish name for it is hindi, literally "Indian," probably via Middle French dinde (c.1600, contracted from poulet d'inde, literally "chicken from India," Modern French dindon), based on the common misconception that the New World was eastern Asia.

The New World bird itself reputedly reached England by 1524 at the earliest estimate, though a date in the 1530s seems more likely. By 1575, turkey was becoming the usual main course at an English Christmas. Meaning "inferior show, failure," is 1927 in show business slang, probably from the bird's reputation for stupidity. Meaning "stupid, ineffectual person" is recorded from 1951. Turkey shoot "something easy" is World War II-era, in reference to marksmanship contests where turkeys were tied behind a log with their heads showing as targets.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.