cold turkey


Definition of cold turkey

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : abrupt complete cessation of the use of an addictive drug also : the symptoms experienced by a person undergoing withdrawal from a drug
2 : unrelieved blunt language or procedure
3 : a cold aloof person

cold turkey


Definition of cold turkey (Entry 2 of 2)

: all at once : abruptly: such as
a : without a period of gradual adjustment, adaptation, or withdrawal quit smoking cold turkey
b : without preparation a new player who started the season cold turkey

Other Words from cold turkey


cold-turkey \ ˈkōld-​ˈtər-​kē How to pronounce cold turkey (audio) \ transitive verb

Synonyms for cold turkey

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of cold turkey in a Sentence

Noun I tried lots of ways to stop smoking, even cold turkey. my new boss is a cold turkey and definitely not one for chitchat
Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Either way, this method is best achieved by starting slow, gradually limiting the number of shampoo sessions, rather than quitting the use of shampoo cold turkey. Joseph Deacetis, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2021 And his decision to leave the company cold turkey is a stark contrast to another famous founder: Bill Gates. Fortune, 30 Nov. 2021 This is exactly what Link does when Amelia is left with four kids and a cold turkey in the oven. Lincee Ray,, 19 Nov. 2021 In other words, e-cigarettes did not appear to be more successful at preventing a return to smoking than going cold turkey did. New York Times, 23 Nov. 2021 This follows a theory known as harm reduction: Encouraging smokers to swap their source of nicotine for a healthier alternative is better than forcing users to go cold turkey. Grace Browne, Wired, 12 Nov. 2021 The first step is going cold turkey for about a month, both Lembke and Duffy said. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 30 Oct. 2021 Others say the only way to beat an addiction is to quit cold turkey and go device-free. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 7 Oct. 2021 An air attack in September 1944 destroyed the Merck factory in Darmstadt, killed hundreds of slave laborers who had been denied access to the company’s bomb shelters, and forced the Führer to go cold turkey during the last days of the war. Joshua Hammer, The New York Review of Books, 8 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cold turkey.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cold turkey


1919, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1941, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for cold turkey

Time Traveler

The first known use of cold turkey was in 1919

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Dictionary Entries Near cold turkey

cold trailing

cold turkey

cold type

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Statistics for cold turkey

Cite this Entry

“Cold turkey.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for cold turkey

cold turkey


English Language Learners Definition of cold turkey

: the act of stopping a bad habit (such as taking drugs) in a sudden and complete way

cold turkey

cold tur·​key | \ -ˈtər-kē How to pronounce cold turkey (audio) \

Medical Definition of cold turkey

: abrupt complete cessation of the use of an addictive drug also : the symptoms experienced by one undergoing withdrawal from a drug

Other Words from cold turkey

cold-turkey adverb or transitive verb

More from Merriam-Webster on cold turkey

Nglish: Translation of cold turkey for Spanish Speakers


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