In honor of Thanksgiving, today's Word Nerd Wednesday is all about a favorite staple the holiday: turkey.
Until I did a bit of digging with my trusty OED, I didn't realize just how many definitions turkey has.
For fun, a sampling of 10 of the many definitions and phrases associated with the word:
According to a quotation into OED dating from 1552 to 1601, it's a bird originally brought from Numidia (a former kingdom in northern Africa) to the country today known as, of course, Turkey.
2) Bird of which all the species are American, one type originally domesticated in Mexico.
The definition goes on about predominantly where in Northern America, but as long as they're also available in the freezer section of my local grocery store, I don't know that I care that many of them are from Missouri.
3) The wild version of the domestic fowl above.
Again, found in North America.
4) The flesh of the bird mentioned above.
Now we're talking Thanksgiving. Pass the cranberry sauce!
5) To "talk turkey"
Speaking frankly or without reserve. Getting to the hard facts.
6) To "walk turkey"
To strut or swagger. This one was new to me.
7) Cold turkey
Quitting a drug or other addictive substance all at once. Not something I plan to do with chocolate any time soon.
8) A cinematic flop
US slang that hails back to the early days of film, first showing up in print in 1927. This term also referred to disappointing theater or any other thing that was a let-down.
9) A slow, stupid, or inept person.
This is a newer use, going back only to 1951. I think in modern usage, it's morphed into meaning less a stupid or inept person and more of a silly or goofy one.
10) Turkey tomb
A rather gruesome yet humorous way to refer to a turkey pie.
(I'll take my pie with pumpkin and whipped cream, thanks.)