Student Dictionary

4 entries found for turkey.
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Main Entry: turˇkey
Pronunciation: primarystresstschwar-kemacron
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural turkeys
Etymology: from turkey-cock, an old word for "guinea fowl," from Turkey, a country in Asia Minor; so called because at one time people thought guinea fowl came from Turkey
1 plural , also turkey : a large North American bird that is related to the domestic chicken and is domesticated in most parts of the world
2 : something that is a failure <the new play was a turkey>
3 : a stupid or foolish person
Word History The bird we now call the guinea fowl was once called the turkey. Turkey was the shortened version of turkey-cock and turkey-hen. The guinea fowl's original home was in Africa. However, Europeans discovered that it was good to eat and did well in captivity, so they brought it back to Europe. Some people mistakenly thought that the birds came from Turkey, and the name stuck. Later, when English settlers first arrived in America, they found a large bird living here that was also good to eat. They called this new bird turkey because it reminded them of the turkey they were familiar with back in Europe.
[turkey illustration]

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