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 Türkiye (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 Jim Rucker Use a 5-inch dowel or a piece of an old broomstick to make a turkey sling. The Editors, Field & Stream, "12 Wildly Inventive Hunting Tips," 24 Aug. 2020 According to the National Turkey Federation, 88% of Americans chow down on Thanksgiving turkey. Taylor Murphy, Good Housekeeping, "25 Best Thanksgiving Trivia Facts to Impress Your Friends This Holiday," 22 July 2020 This tool, which is perfect for grilling, turkey-roasting and the like, reportedly has a response time of two to three seconds and a wide temperature range (14 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit). Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Wednesday," 8 July 2020 Unknown Size: About the size of a turkey Weight: Up to seven pounds What is a horned screamer? National Geographic, "Horned screamer," 28 May 2020 But, trust me, you’d be astonished to hear the names of sports-world giants whose extended hands more closely resemble the soggy limpness of a pound of ground turkey in the discount section of Tom Thumb than the grasp of a great athlete. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "Is it possible that handshakes and hugs are gone for good?," 6 Apr. 2020 The first Thanksgiving: Time to take another look Americans on Thursday will celebrate Thanksgiving with a feast of turkey, pie, and other goodies. Editors, USA TODAY, "Thanksgiving celebration, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, holiday shopping: 5 things to know Thursday," 28 Nov. 2019 At Killen's Barbecue in Pearland, score colossal beef ribs with black-pepper bark, smoked turkey and filler-free sausages. Marcy De Luna, Houston Chronicle, "Houston area barbecue joints for takeout and delivery," 14 Apr. 2020 Everything in This Slideshow Gwen Stefani & Blake Shelton The two continued their tradition of heading to Shelton’s Lake Texoma, Oklahoma property to celebrate the holiday and cook up their very first turkey covered with Funyuns. Sophie Dodd, PEOPLE.com, "See How the Stars Are Celebrating Thanksgiving 2019," 2 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for turkey

Time Traveler

The first known use of turkey was in 1555

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Statistics for turkey

Last Updated

1 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Turkey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turkey. Accessed 23 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for turkey


How to pronounce Turkey (audio)

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

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Comments on turkey

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