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

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Other Words from cold turkey


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

Synonyms for cold turkey

Synonyms: Noun

cold fish, iceberg, icicle

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Examples of cold turkey in a Sentence


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

For me, quitting face wipes cold turkey was the hardest part. Meirav Devash, Allure, "I Tried a Sustainable Beauty Routine for a Month to See How Easy It Is to Go Green," 15 Oct. 2018 Don’t decide to just wean yourself off those or go cold turkey. Korin Miller, SELF, "7 Life Rules People With Asthma Should Always Follow," 18 Oct. 2018 Go cold turkey on airport retail Just like the candy and treats dangerously close to the register at the grocery store, airside retail can be a temptation, Button says. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Buy a Souvenir You Won't Regret," 19 Sep. 2018 Brown claims the industrial world can't afford to go cold turkey off oil. William Lajeunesse, Fox News, "California Gov. Jerry Brown a 'hypocrite' when it comes to oil drilling, critics say," 13 Sep. 2018 At lunch in the detox ward, everyone got the same thing: two pieces of wheat toast wrapped in foil with slices of cold turkey. Katrine Jo Andersen, The New Republic, "Rejected by A.A.," 27 June 2018 In a novel case with national implications, the Washington state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the jail to force it to provide opiate-withdrawal medication to prisoners, rather than requiring them to go cold turkey. Washington Post, "Lawsuit: Washington jail must provide addiction treatment," 7 June 2018 Amy, when my father had a stroke, he was forced to stop smoking, cold turkey., "She resents the constant invitations she gets to sales parties," 31 May 2018 That change was a recognition that many pregnant women with a history of drug abuse take prescribed opioids — methadone or buprenorphine — to manage their cravings, prevent withdrawal, and avoid the miscarriage risk of quitting opioids cold turkey. Marie Mccullough,, "Pa. law aims to protect newborns of moms in opioid addiction," 29 June 2018

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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More Definitions for cold turkey

cold turkey


English Language Learners Definition of cold turkey

informal : 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on cold turkey

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cold turkey

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cold turkey

Nglish: Translation of cold turkey for Spanish Speakers

Comments on cold turkey

What made you want to look up cold turkey? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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