1

cold turkey

noun
Updated on: 12 Nov 2017

Definition of cold turkey

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

play \ˈkōld-ˈtər-kē\ transitive verb

Examples of cold turkey in a Sentence

  1. I tried lots of ways to stop smoking, even cold turkey.

  2. my new boss is a cold turkey and definitely not one for chitchat

First Known Use of cold turkey

1919

cold turkey Synonyms

Synonyms
cold fish, iceberg, icicle
Related Words
clam, stick, wallflower; prig, snob, snoot, snot, stuffed shirt
Near Antonyms
dear, sweetheart, sweetie

2

cold turkey

adverb

Definition of cold turkey

: 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

Recent Examples of cold turkey from the Web

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.

First Known Use of cold turkey

1941


COLD TURKEY Defined for English Language Learners

cold turkey

noun

Definition of cold turkey for English Language Learners

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


Medical Dictionary

cold turkey

noun cold tur·key \ -ˈtər-kē \

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

cold-turkey

adverb or transitive verb


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

food, provisions, or a tasty dish

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!