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

Definition of turkey

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 plural also turkey : a large North American gallinaceous bird (Meleagris gallopavo) that is domesticated in most parts of the world
2 : failure, flop especially : a theatrical production that has failed
3 : three successive strikes in bowling
4 : a stupid, foolish, or inept person


geographical name
Tur·​key | \ ˈtər-kē How to pronounce Turkey (audio) \
variants: or Turkish Türkiye \ ˌtᵫr-​kē-​ˈye How to pronounce Turkey (audio) \

Definition of Turkey (Entry 2 of 2)

country in western Asia and southeastern Europe between the Mediterranean and Black seas; capital Ankara area 302,535 square miles (783,562 square kilometers), population 81,257,000 — see ottoman empire

Note: Turkey was formerly the center of an empire whose capital was Constantinople. Since 1923 it has been a republic.

— see also turk sense 1

Illustration of turkey

Illustration of turkey


turkey 1

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms for turkey

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of turkey in a Sentence

Noun He was acting like a complete turkey. only a turkey would think it's a good idea to go for a jog when the weather drops below zero
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Thawing a turkey requires up to 24 hours per 4 lbs in the refrigerator, two hours in cold water for every 2 lbs, or plenty of turns in a microwave defroster, Sims explains. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 2 Sep. 2021 The hours spent in the crew van with the AC on full blast, eating turkey sandwiches and waiting for the heat to die down. Devin Kelly, Longreads, 23 July 2021 October 12, 2002 - Pilgrim’s Pride Foods, in Franconia, Pennsylvania, recalls 27.4 million pounds of fresh and frozen ready-to-eat turkey and chicken products produced since May 1, 2002. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, 7 June 2021 Expect the same menu as the original Maverick's, which is home to an exceptional roast beef sandwich, along with open-faced turkey and pork sandwiches, fries, onion rings and shakes and malts. Rick Nelson, Star Tribune, 25 Feb. 2021 Race organizers will send you a printable racing bib, T-shirt or tank top, finisher medal embossed with a cartoon turkey and a digital finisher badge. Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2020 The only other way to get a Greenberg turkey this year is to race to Central Market, where some shipments had already been set out for sale for this holiday season. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 9 Nov. 2020 A dozen items are in the deal, including a Butterball turkey, sweet potatoes, bagged stuffing and pumpkin pie ingredients. Jordan Valinsky, CNN, 21 Nov. 2020 Here's hoping someone tossed the soiled turkey in the garbage. Lincee Ray, EW.com, 7 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word '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 turkey


1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for turkey


Turkey, country in western Asia and southeastern Europe; from confusion with the guinea fowl, supposed to be imported from Turkish territory

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Statistics for turkey

Last Updated

26 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Turkey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turkey. Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for turkey



English Language Learners Definition of turkey

: a large American bird that is related to the chicken and that is hunted or raised by people for its meat
: the meat of the turkey used as food
: something (such as a play or movie) that has failed


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

Kids Definition of turkey

: a large North American bird related to the chicken and widely raised for food

More from Merriam-Webster on turkey

Nglish: Translation of turkey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of turkey for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about turkey


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