tur·key | \ ˈtər-kē \
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 \
variants: or Turkish Türkiye \ˌtᵫr-kē-ˈye \

Definition of Turkey (Entry 2 of 2)

country in western Asia and southeastern Europe between the Mediterranean and Black seas; capital Ankara area 301,380 square miles (780,574 square kilometers), population 73,085,000 — 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

Illustration of turkey

Illustration of turkey


turkey 1

In the meaning defined above

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Examples of turkey in a Sentence


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

Other famous cases include a 1997 removal of an alligator from a Naperville golf course and a 2010 capture of a wild turkey which was reportedly playing chicken with Lake Bluff motorists. Graydon Megan, chicagotribune.com, "Garon Fyffe, naturalist and animal expert, dies," 2 July 2018 Every adventure includes a picnic lunch of a turkey and cheese sandwich or a peanut butter and jam croissant. Jayme Moye, Outside Online, "How to Take Any Dog on an Adventure," 27 June 2018 The menu will feature oven roasted turkey, cornbread-sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce, tossed salad, rolls, desserts, soft drinks, coffee and tea. Courant Community, "Community News For The Vernon Edition," 5 June 2018 In 2017, the club's Feeding the Needy project provided a Christmas dinner of a cooked turkey, six side dishes and desserts for more than 1500 families in St. Tammany and Washington Parishes. Elizabeth Moore, NOLA.com, "North Shore Notables: Rotary Club of Covington installs new officers," 1 June 2018 The hams, the turkeys, the cash, were tokens of political love from the machine. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Kennedy invokes Harold Washington: Take Pritzker’s cash but give me your vote," 9 Mar. 2018 An updated list of pet food recalls for salmonella or listeria in the last 26 days: ▪ Raws for Paws ground turkey, Feb. 8. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "The week’s first salmonella dog food recall, second of March, eighth in 26 days | Miami Herald," 6 Mar. 2018 Zucker Bakery in New York City has combined Hanukkah favorite sufganiyot (jelly donuts) with Thanksgiving specialties for a limited series of gourmet turkey-stuffed donuts. Lauren Le Vine, Redbook, "Thanksgiving and Hanukkah Favorites Collide in One Epic Dessert," 11 Nov. 2013 More than 10 entry points between Gansevoort Street and 34th Street lead to the free elevated public park, a verdant refuge built nearly two decades after the last freight train hauled frozen turkeys across the tracks. Andrea Sachs, chicagotribune.com, "Take a walk on New York's High Line from end-to-end," 2 July 2018

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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Learn More about turkey

Dictionary Entries near turkey

Türk cell






turkey beard

Statistics for turkey

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for turkey

The first known use of turkey was in 1555

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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 \
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

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


occurring twice a year or every two years

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