If you’ve ever visited Turkey, you probably ate shwarma, but it’s unlikely that you were served a crispy, golden turkey leg. The former center of the Ottoman Empire isn’t exactly a breeding ground for the bird that we most closely associate with Thanksgiving. In fact, the turkey is native to North America.
So why do they share the same name?
First, let’s get the facts on the two turkeys.
Here’s how they are related. In the 1540s, the guinea fowl, a bird with some resemblance to the Thanksgiving avian, was imported from Madagascar through Turkey by traders known as turkey merchants. The guinea fowl was also nicknamed the turkey fowl. Then, the Spanish brought turkeys back from the Americas by way of North Africa and Turkey, where the bird was mistakenly called the same name. Europeans who encountered the bird in the Americas latched on to the “turkey fowl” name, and the term was condensed simply to “turkey.” Turkeys have fared better than their guinea fowl relatives on the international scene, perhaps explaining why you probably have never heard of guinea fowl until right now.
The turkey’s acceptance into the Old World happened quickly. By 1575, the English were enjoying the North American bird at Christmas dinner.
We want to acknowledge, as some commenters have noted, that our previous explanation of “turkey” confusion was a bit, well, confusing. We hope that our revisions are clearer. We at the Hot Word aren’t too chicken to admit when our writing is a turkey; hopefully, with our meatier explanation, your appetite for nomenclature knowledge is sated (let us know if you’re still confused.)
BOH-RING! Let’s talk about gossip girl
“Then, the Spanish brought turkeys back from the Americas…”
Isn’t it Spaniards?
I want to ask something. If you were Turkish, what do you feel about it? Other nations don’t care about it but we know we’ll reach the top level of knowledge. As Adlai E.Stevenson Jr. said ”If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is not a barking dog, to be tethered on a ten-foot chain.”
We are enduring the dangers which tries to harm us, but we don’t let them to do. We claimed the nations which tries to harm us by some thoughts,envy of us. If you think for a while, you can understand other nations arrangements and plants directly not by implication.I mean indirectly
But, Turkish people always finish the packet. You didn’t finish the packet?
i think its a possibility that inda and the “new world” aka, modern america, were mistaken as the same place bye turkey because when mr. columbus arrived to the “new world”, the thought the natives of the area were indians of india. the thought he had actually arrived in india. im not saying this is what happened at all, i just wanted to share what it may have been.
I tried to gobble up your meaning, but I’m still confused.
“In the 1540s, the guinea fowl, a bird with some resemblance to the Thanksgiving avian, was imported from Madagascar through Turkey by traders known as turkey merchants.”
Imported where? Are you saying they were called “turkey merchants” because they were in Turkey (in which case, they should be called “Turkey merchants”) or because the guinea fowl was then known as a ‘turkey’?
“…Then, the Spanish brought turkeys back from the Americas by way of North Africa and Turkey, where the bird was mistakenly called the same name as the guinea fowl.”
“the same name as the guinea fowl” = guinea fowl. ??
That still doesn’t tell us how/when/by whom it was called a “turkey”. Am I missing something?
This seems like folk etymology. It is a curious oddity, indeed, that this particular fowl is named in a number of languages. In Arabic, it is alternately referred to as: Indian, Abassinyan, Egyptian. In French, it is also called Indian; while in Spanish it is named after Peru. In sum, these various names discredit the claim that this bird is native to north America.
I meant to say that the bird is always named after a country.
But Turkey was only Turkey until after WW1 ?
I don’t understand.
Well… That explains a lot!
The former center of the Ottoman Empire…
The former center is known as Anatolia. Turkey is the modern name for the country.
a turkey from the america, a guinea fowl from Madagascar, India and the New World, take something for something else.
Cool. I always wondered what was the relation between the country and the bird.
By the way, another curious fact: here in Brazil, the bird is known as “peru”, which is also the name of a country. Haha.
I DO NOT KNOW for which one gets the true story about the name for this bird as “Turkey” as there are so may journals out there in a very roundabout way explained and claimed theirs correct and original.
WHATEVER IT IS let us get back to point of who gave the name of the country “Turkey”. As the bird’s name related to turkey merchants, you described it in your article. I mean the original word for “Turkey” came from. The answer is China.
Lol, i highlighted every word that said Turkey in my history book. Happy Thxgivin!!
hey guys i have a pet turkey and i called it joe. he is quite a troublemaker
how come no one be commentin meh post?
Very interesting. Thanks!
That’s fine, interesting and all. But then something else – is it the bird itself that led Peru to have what is actually the same name as Turkey?
It consider my life greatly enriched by finally answering a question that has haunted me since I was 7
This is a rather confusing post. There is no mention of how the turkey got the same name as Turkey by mistake. It says the guinea fowl was imported by turkey merchants – and called a “guinea fowl”, and then the Spanish brought back turkeys from the Americas by by way of North Africa and Turkey, where it was mistakenly called a “guinea fowl”. Great, so we know how the turkey was mistakenly called a guinea fowl, but we don’t know how it got the same name as the country.
Very interesting to know how mistakes led to discoveries of new countries naming of old ones.
I always wondered what was the relation between the Thanksgiving bird and the country of Turkey so now I know what it is now.
The erroneous assumption that turkeys = guinea fowls followed through to the scientific name for the turkey genus, proving how much zoologists knew back then: meleagris (μελεαγρίς) which is Greek for guinea fowl. Thankfully, these days with our encyclopedic knowledge and the internet embarrassing mistakes like this don’t happen (much).
Isn’t weird that the turkey -as americans know it- is call “guajolote” in México and that “huexolotl” was it’s original name in nahuatl?
And that the name that the spaniards gave it in spanish is “pavo“?
So I see no connection between this post and the truth behind the oddish name americans gave to that tasty bird.
Is surprinsing to me to found out that the people living -at that time- in US made that mistake, but they made the spaniards the sole responsible for that “gazapo“.
It is as simple as this: many words have the same name but different in meaning. Like the kiwi fruit and the kiwi bird; like bow and the bow; rock and the rock; check and the check.
In Greek a turkey is called “gallopoula”, French bird, after the guttural yelp it produces.
Please don’t eat your Thanksgiving Day turkey like these posts…overdone
This doesnt explain at all how they both came to have the same name. I am still confused about which was called Turkey first.
The British colonialists had christened the native Americans “Indians” already. In order to preclude confusion, they wisely decided against naming the bird Indian (hindi) as well.
i dont care.
In the Arab world the bird is called “deek rumy”. Deek=Cock (or rooster) and rumy is the name given to the Byzantines (rume;plural of rumy) in Arabic). Byzantium was located in present day Turkey.
To add to the confusion it is also called Deek Al Habash; meaning Abyssinian Cock. Habasha= Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia) in Arabic.
Could this explain the incomplete information?
I am an American living in Turkey and here, they say that the bird (Turkey) is called ‘Hindi’ in Turkish because it is indigenous to ‘Hindistan’ (India). They don’t believe that Turkeys are indigenous to North America, rather that early Americans brought the bird back from Turkiye (Turkey) and named it ‘Turkey’.
The name of Turkey, Türkiye in the Turkish language, can be divided into two components: Türk, which might mean “human being” in old Turkic language and usually signifying the inhabitants of Turkey or a member of the Turkish or Turkic peoples, a later form of “Tu–kin”, a name given by the Chinese to the people living south of the Altay Mountains of Central Asia as early as 177 BCE; and the abstract suffix –iye meaning “owner”, “land of” or “related to” (derived from the Arabic suffix –iyya, but also associated with the Medieval Latin suffix –ia in Turchia).
The first recorded use of the term “Türk” or “Türük” as an autonym is contained in the Orkhon inscriptions of the Göktürks (Celestial Turks) of Central Asia (c. 8th century CE). The English word “Turkey” is derived from the Medieval Latin Turchia (c. 1369).
Jimbo’s post adequately puts forth the confusion that most of us feel. This is a very poorly documented explanation, so thanks for a waste of time.
I never thought about it, but in Polish we call the damn bird ‘indyk’ and I just found out, that it’s related to its Latin name: “indicus gallus” , meaning ‘a rooster from India’. Definitely not from Turkey anyway, happy thanskgiving everybory!
BTW: (guinea fowl) is called ‘perliczka’ and its probably because of its feathers, which look like covered with small pearls (Polish perla means pearl)
There are too many inconsistencies with the original explanation to make it viable. For a start what were Spaniards doing importing turkeys (or is it guinea fowls) via Turkey. I thought all the stuff from the New World came over the Atlantic to Cadiz and maybe other Spanish ports.
I reckon the best explanation is probably that Europeans saw this strange non-native bird and had, out of ignorance for its true origins, to invent an origin. If Turkey was a country in the popular consciousness of the time, then this could be peddled incorrectly as the birds’ country of origin.
When Kiwi fruit started to appear in the UK in the early 70’s they were sold as “Chinese Goosberries”, not that they originated in China, just that China was a mysterious exotic place, so it fitted the fruit.
jimbo and michael david are right, yet no one seems to care. This article is either poorly worded, or actually has no ansewer to the titular question…
It would be wonderful if someone other than an apparent high school dropout wrote these texts. Judging from some of the comments the explanation is confusingly written and probably inaccurate.
let me just enquire about the mentioning of guinea fowls. To satisfy my personal curiousity, I was wondering if guinea fowl refers to guinea pig poo, or if it is in fact a bird.
I’d appreciate it if someone would get back to me about this.
- Gert. xxxx
Gert, In answer to your interesting question:
guinea fowl, does in fact refer to guinea pig terd, although it can also refer to the bird.
You can choose how you apply it!!
Hope this helps, please get back to me.
There is a little social gathering in London talking about the origins of the Enlgish language (beautiful as it is!) I believe you would enjoy it, email me for the address and time.
I don’t think so that happened like that. İt is not enough information for me.
Since when did the Spanish use Turkey as a port of call when bringing goods back from the Americas? “Hmm, let’s see here, I just sailed across the entire Atlantic, and right here’s the port of Cadiz and we could sail right up to Seville, but I think we should keep on going, past Valencia, past Barcelona, past Italy, all the way across the Mediterranean to unload these damn birds there.”
Who the heck came up with this gobble gobble?
Since when did the Spanish use Turkey as a port of call when bringing goods back from the Americas? “Hmm, let’s see here, I just sailed across the entire Atlantic, and right here’s the port of Cadiz and we could sail right up to Seville, but I think we should keep on going, past Valencia, past Barcelona, past Italy, all the way across the Mediterranean to unload these damn birds in Istanbul. That would rock. We Spaniards just spent the past 500 years fighting Muslims in Spain, so let’s cross the sea to trade in a Muslim port.”
Who the heck came up with this gobble gobble?
I always wondered why the country Turkey was named as such, very informative as always Dictionary.com!
Ummm, am I the only one who still doesn’t get why Turkey is called, well, Turkey!? How in heavens name did the name of a bird end up being the name for a country? Just how much of an influence did these ‘turkey merchants’ have any way. There are some serious gaps in this story…
Haha, my left brain said ’stuff the gaps with turkey!”
Why would they call themselves turkey merchants if Turkey was called the Ottoman Empire? Shouldn’t they be called Ottoman Empire Merchants?
And if they called themselves turkey merchants because they it had something to do with the bird, why would they then name their country after something they imported from Madagascar?
Unless Turkey always existed as a province or something. Or they always called themselves Turkey and the rest of the world called them the Ottoman Empire. Endonym confusion strikes again…
I read the post for three times but I could hardly correlate the informations given. There is actually no exact information that can answer the very question. I agree with you Jimbo, I am also confused about it…Hopefully I can get the very point. I want to remove these cobwebs in my mind now.
In Hebrew, a turkey is called “tarnegol hodu,” which because of the word hodu’s two different meanings is both “fowl of India” and “thanksgiving fowl”! Coincidence?
Gobble — Gobble.
[...] can you say about TURKEY that hasn’t been said before. — Ben Franklin wanted the National Bird to be the Wild [...]
For Michael David and others who are confused:
The guinea fowl was imported to Europe through Turkey. The merchants responsible for this trade were known as “Turkey merchants,” so the bird came to be known as a “turkey” — in this case, another name for the guinea fowl.
When a similar bird was discovered in the New World, it was mistakenly thought to be the same as the guinea fowl, a.k.a. the “turkey.”
The name apparently stuck to the American bird, while it fell into disuse for the Old World guinea fowl.
This is really very confusing.Do u think the country before it became Turkey was heavily infested with these birds and probably that time they milked them?we need an answer.
re fatmanur şahin – So you’re saying people can’t work out the difference between Turkey the country and Turkey the bird? Some say there may be a similar problem in Wales…
In Mexico it’s called PAVO or GUAJOLOTE (nahuatl?). Now explain that.
Uh, yeah is says nothing about turkey and turkey
ahhh!!!!!!!!!!! to many turkies in one tiny story!!! brain failing!!!!!
Jimbo, I was thinking the same. You are right! The ‘explanation” does not make any sense and it’s confusing.
The story goes:
“In the 1540s, the guinea fowl, a bird with some resemblance to the Thanksgiving avian, was imported from Madagascar through Turkey by traders known as turkey merchants.”
Who were the traders? Were they American Indians, Spaniards, or Ottomans? In 15 century the country of “Turkey” did not exist. After WWI, in 1924 Kemal Ataturk created “Turkey” from the rubbles of Ottoman Empire.
Maybe this excerpt from Wikipedia will help:
When Europeans first encountered turkeys on the American continent, they incorrectly identified the birds as a type of guineafowl (Numididae), also known as turkey fowl (or turkey hen and turkey cock) due to the birds’ importation to Central Europe through Turkey. That name, shortened to just the name of the country, stuck as the name of the American bird.
Funny enough, the very same bird holds, in Portuguese, the name of a quite different country: Peru.
Really very confusing interpretation. Not well put for a dictionary. I still do not understand why it was named after Turkey. What was it called in North America anyway?
haha i love this site ,. i mean a lot,. im at work and if i dont have any calls i can come here and read some funny comments and not only that ,. it really enhances my knowledge, as my pronunciation that is very good for my job ad most of all it helps me to escape the boringness if i don’t have any calls… i really2x love this,. thank you.. ^_^
I think this article is not clear enough to demonstrate how English people got confused about the word in the given time period.
does anyone here loves two and a half men? ^_^
I always wondered what was the relation between the Thanksgiving bird and the country of Turkey so now I know what it is now..
We have a bad habit of assigning names to others they don’t use themselves (see Peking / Beijing). I have to laugh. People in America actually think the people in Espana call their country “Spain” – for another example. It’s a bit arrogant. *L* But then, we call ourselves Americans – as if those in Canada and Brazil are not.
I think that there is more confusion here now. Ok, there is this one bird, let’s call it Bird_1, that is known as guinea fowl, hindi or “pavo”. It comes from Asia and entered Europe by way of Turkish merchants. Somewhere along the line someone thought that Turkey meant the bird and not the people who sold it, or maybe they thought it would be funny, anyway, the name stuck as so often happens with these things.
And then there is this other bird, Bird_2, that comes from North America where it was known by some of the original inhabitants as huexolotl. The Spaniards saw this bird and named it “pavo”. It’s not really a pavo, but it looks like one and they couldn’t pronouce the original name. There have been worse reasons to name something.
And because the translation for “pavo” is “turkey”, and because the English knew of Bird_2 through the Spanish before having contact with an actual Bird_2, well, there you have it.
You are way off on your explanation or lack of one. As stated by a couple of people before, in Mexico it is called guajolote, In Central America chompipe, in Spanish pavo. So where is the “Turkey” name from. The only confusing thing about the name is when I see signs proclaiming ” Free Turkey”e talking about a freebie or is it a political statement?
I love trivia and scrabble….always looking 4 unusual words..so gleaned a few.
“perhaps explaining why you probably have never heard of guinea fowl until right now.”
Not only have I heard of guinea fowl, I have SEEN guinea fowl in the flesh. Quite clearly your audience is not quite as stupid as have led yourselves to believe. I am perfectly competent with intelligent people being arrogant smartasses, but simply cannot stand for ignorantly incompetent dumbasses pretending to anything but. Not only was this article idiotic and a complete waste of time, it proved that the writers of hot word are complete morons who know nothing more than how to google a question.
in Afrikaans we call a turkey a “kalkoen” for Culcutta, where i assume they thought it came from… don’t quite know how that happened… We are of Dutch and French and English descent so it might have come from europe’s assumption that the Turkey came from the East.
also… a guiney fowl does not resemble a turkey at all.. its smaller gray/black with white dotted feathers and its got bright blue in its face, unless this is anohter case of mistaken identity?? Afrikaans for this bird is “Tarentaal” which comes from the portuguese i guess for “Terra de Natal” as they called what is now known as Kwa-Zulu Natal, with Durban being the best known city.
going back lazy~
I’m even more confused than I was before… This explains nothing. Some of the commenters, however, relieved some of the confusion with COHERENT EXPLANATIONS.
WAKE UP, HOT WORD. JEEBUS.
i’m still REALLY confused! oh well. hope veryone had a good thanksgiving and black friday.
I think it’s called Turkey because it speaks Turkish! Have you ever heared the voice of the Turkish language accent and its similarity to the sound of the bird?! Whenever I hear the bird I can understand his Turkish lnguages almost! LOL , only if I knew Turkish ( I know Arabic,Persian,English,Qashghai Turkish ,not Stambuly turkish)
Personally i prefer ham, so TO HELL WITH THIS ARTICLE!
Most arabs, specially the Saudi Arabian people, called it ‘the Greece rooster’!
tell me why?
sorry, i had a rong spell in my previous comment.
in latinoamerica specially in guatemala they call it pavo or chompipe,last night i was thinking about and my conclusion is that they also call pavoreal to the pee-cock so it may be a relationship between the two of them so is whay they are called practically the same.it may be that bouth are coming from the same contries and familly too . thanks
Thanks for the fascinating fact it just that the last paragraph seems your crying over spill milk..Hush Hush..
I have no problem understanding this article. It makes perfect sense to me.
This article overlaps a lot with the one I just posted, but it goes into more detail, a lot of which is interesting.
One of the problems with this article is that there is no mention of what a ‘turkey’ was called before it mistakenly became known as a turkey. Presumably men did not come home saying ‘look love ive caught a Meleagris Gallopava’. Their wives may think they had caught a dinosaur or perhaps a yelping French person (re: hilde on November 25, 2010 at 11:35 pm). She may say ‘Great, now we have a Frech dinosaur we can have Thanksgiving Dinner [whatever that is. The author has also assumed that everyone reading this article is American and in America].
Here in a place called England (you may know it as Trousers or Jam or some other American English quirk) we exclusively eat turkey for Christmas dinner, in fact eating turkey on any other day is technically an act of treason and punishable by execution (untill one is dead, dead, dead. The Queen can be seemingly harsh sometimes but it is for our own good)
Anyway I hope this helps.
Lord Sir David Winstonchurchillshire.
Rich Durst- I agree with you, but Turkey was called the Ottoman Empire until after World War One, and we are thinking 1400s-1600s, at least 300 years before the country became known as Turkey.
Can you explain again WHY turkeys aren’t called the guinea fowl?
A new Fact, in Arabic is called ” Deack Roomy ” wich literaly means “Roman Rooster” but often some other Food & beverages are called both names ” Roomy and Torky ” meaning Roaman and Turkish, like torky/Roomy Cheese and there’s this coffee they call it turkish while is done diferent than the turkish way some say it’s Greek Coffee.
The names confuses the Roman with Turkish or Ottoman to Greek at least in Egypt which is The Cultural Leader in the Arab World hence the Arab Dialect.
The Greeks, Romans and Turks or Ottomans Occupied or Ruled Egypt since the end of the Pharonic era and the Ptolomaic Reign.
Often, the first thing people will say when they learn that I’m from Turkey is:
“Oh, so do you eat a lot of turkey in Turkey?” like it’s the funniest thing since stand-up. Seriously? Adjust your filters people. You can’t really think that I haven’t heard it 5,000 times before your wit so cleverly crafted that little gem. Of course, for those asking sincerely, the answer is no, turkey isn’t nearly as popular in Turkey as it is in the U.S.
However it was named…it tastes great!!
[...] were instrumental in disseminating it through their occupied territories and nations. But what’s in a name? Well, if you’re in Turkey, the country, you may have some shwarma. Most Hispanics you meet [...]
Several people commenting have expressed confusion with the way the article explains things, so I will attempt to clarify.
Turkey the country was not named after the bird. The land in eastern Europe (or western Asia, sometimes called Asia Minor) has been called by name names as it has been the location of many nations. The current name comes from Turk, the name for a culture group that has lived there for a very long time. The “–ey” comes from a suffix that basically means “place of”, just like the “–ia” seen in many country names, like “America”, which basically means, “place of Amerigo” (Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian mapmaker) or “Liberia”, which means “place of liberty”.
Now, let’s move on to birds.
The Turkey, a bird native to North America, is like many animals, in that it was named after another animal that is really not that similar but looked similar to some people a long time ago who knew very little about animals. (This happens all the time, such as the case of the Australian animal the “possum”, which was named after the North American animal the “opossum” because they looked similar, or the “duck-billed platypus”, which is not related to a duck at all but has a similar beak or bill. There are also butterflies that are really moths and the “komodo dragon” that is obviously not a dragon.) The North American turkey was named after the guinea fowl, which itself was named after a region in Africa. The guinea fowl was imported to Europe by way of Turkey (the country), just like many other items from Asia and Africa, such as carpets. The Europeans, in their ignorance, started called the guinea fowl a “turkey fowl” because they got it from Turkey, even though it really came from Africa. When these same Europeans came across an unknown bird in North America, they called it a turkey, because it looked like the guinea fowl they knew but had been calling a “turkey” or “turkey fowl” for some time. Although the birds look different, they do have similar features, just like pheasant and quail. As so often happens, the name “turkey” stuck to the bird, even though the Turks in the country Turkey would probably not see it for some time, and would come up with their own name for it. Interesting, this same bird has different names all over the world, and the local name almost always calls it a chicken, rooster, or bird that comes from another place. In the country of Turkey, the bird’s name translates to “Indian”. In French, it is also called what translates to “from India”. As has been mentioned in other comments, in the Middle East and other parts of Africa and Asia, it is often called something like “Greek chicken”, “Egyptian bird,” or “Roman rooster”. In South America and Hawaii, it is named after the country Peru. This animal is only native to one part of the world (North America), yet it is almost named after some other place where it is supposed to originate. The few exceptions are in Native American languages, where it is almost never named after a place, and in the Far East, where it is named after a distinctive feature, such as the head. Examples include “fire chicken” in Chinese or “seven-faced bird” in Korean or Japanese.
This kind of situation occurs often in language, where something is named after a certain place or culture even though it has little do with it. Examples include “Canadian bacon,” “French kiss,” “Indian giver,” and “Chinese water torture”.
For more information about specific etymologies for turkey the bird and Turkey the country, check out their respective Wikipedia articles, as well as the list of names for the turkey in various languages.
A joke that is somewhat related to this topic (its really corny):
I was HUNGARY so IRAN to TURKEY and CHILE.
I was hungry so I ran to turkey and chili.
What a lot of rubbish same of you write the name Turkey is not the same as we TURKS say it IT IS TURKIY >>>>
The story of Turkey’s name (etymology)_
The name for Turkey in the Turkish language, Türkiye, can be divided into two words: Türk, which means “strong” in Old Turkic and usually signifying the inhabitants of Turkey or a member of the Turkish or Turkic peoples, a later form of “tu-kin”, name given by the Chinese to the people living south of the Altay Mountains of Central Asia as early as 177 BC; and the abstract suffix -iye, which means “owner” or “related to”. The first recorded use of the term “Türk” or “Türük” as an autonym is contained in the Orkhon inscriptions of the Göktürks (Sky Turks) of Central Asia (c. 8th century CE). The English word “Turkey” is derived from the Medieval Latin “Turchia” (c. 1369).
Well..First of all in Turkey, people of Turkey don’t call themselves as Turkey. They say themselves “TÜRKİYE”. But its hard to pronounce by foreigners so they just call it as Turkey. And for second, Turkey get it’s name “Türkiye” after WW1 officially but name “Türkiye”(Undirectly “Turkey”) means “Turkish Land” and unofficially used by people for centuries(Byzantians also used that name for the old lands of Turks, long before Turkish Invasion of Anatolia). Calling bird as turkey is simple historical transformation of a word. Europeans firstly meet this bird by merchants of Turks so they think this bird as a Turkic origin. Called it as a Turkey Coq (Turkey bird or whatewer..). And lazieness of people converted it simply turkey. And for the last, in Turkey, people calling this bird as “Hindi”. Literally means “India” in Turkish, caused by same historical mistake and word transformation. In different languages, different words can mean different stuff. Little irrelevant with topic but in Turkey, “elizabet(pronaunce of “Elizabeth” in Turkish Language)” means “masturbation” and I am not kidding.
hahaha they were right; had never b4 heard of the guinea fowl!!!!!
if in turkey it is called “hindi”, then it could be the good reason that the bird entered to Turkey many years before that from India which was near to Turkey!
“elizabet” means nothing in türk language, but an english name
I am Turkish and in our country we do not use “Turkish” as a nation name. We always use “Turkiye” as a name of nation. If you make a “real” research about this topic, I am sure that, you will find true story about it.
Why no Turkey in China?
They bring us to a point that we feel nervous about it and then we find a solution to this problem, we are interested in humorous speaking. we love it! we call the English ‘hey, Johny!’ this means you have got the so-called power, money, luxury, the mosy beautiful clothes, shoes, houses, cars….etc. but you have deficiency in spirit, not have a strong spirit!..You can be easily threatened Because Turkish people throughout the history manage to get over all the trouble they face, they see what is being hungry, what is being frozen from the cold air, but GIVE UP?? no, never! they not consume, working hard and try to maintain their territory even there is only a bread left for their family, they carry on doing, constructing a new nation: its name is TÜRKİYE!
so….. I love “elizabet”. AND YOUR POINT IS?
turkey is yummy
what does this have to do?????????????????????
Yes, it’s quite confusing, and I think Wikipedia explains this better.
I need a summary.. That was somewhat hard to follow.
I’ve actually always wondered that!!
I didnt get it at all… How did it actually the country come to be known as Turkey? In which year and why? just because some merchants grabbed some chicken from Madagascar?? No sense..
btw all of this information is incorrect
cool very interesting
There was a sever logical leap made this time between clearing up how the word Turkey for the bird came from Turkey merchants. Then all of a sudden youre talking about The Turkish name for the bird being Hindi without telling us what that name is. Gap!
Then you go on to say the name means Indian. What?
You lost me at Turkey.
Try again, please. Thanks for trying G.
This makes no sense. They never explained why they share the same name.
And hot word, nobody really likes this article.
So many words just say the answer and GO!!!
Got that right bro
“If you’ve ever visited Turkey, you probably ate shwarma, but it’s unlikely that you were served a crispy, golden turkey leg.”. Shwarma does not exist in Turkish cousin…
So the name “turkey” of the bird which is actually found by the Spaniards in the New World and introduced it to Europe via the Turkey Route, was used by the English when they bought the bird from the Turkish Merchants. So even the Turkish do not call the bird “turkey” the use of the name was made by the English and made it part of the English Language.
Very interesting. I never knew how it got it’s name. So then how is the term Turkey in Bowling explained?
So many people commented on how they don’t care. If you don’t care, then why did you read the article in the first place?
I have spent many months travelling throughout Turkey and I have never had a shwarma nor have I ever heard a Turk use this term. Shwarma is Arabic. The Turks call their version of this dish donair (to turn in turkish) or kebab (grilled meat). Please check your facts.
….R u people, like, below average intelligence? This article is useful and is clear as crystal to those of us who are using our brains effectively, considering you have enough brain to use. Never the less, allow me to simplify this ‘”incredibly complex” article for you.
The bird’s real name is a guinea fowl, they traded the bird through Turkey (the nation), and the people they gave it to were from Turkey. The people handling the guinea fowl were all from Turkey, and since it was the first time other people had seen the bird, they named it “turkey fowl”, after the people who were handling it and “fowl” because it was a bird. In England they also had never seen the bird, and heard from the transporters that it was called a turkey fowl. Even after hearing that it was a guinea fowl, they already liked the name turkey fowl and continued using it, eventually just calling it a turkey.
I believe i understand the passage. The turkey was imported from Madagascar, and on its way, it went through the country Turkey. It was called a guinea fowl, but it was later nicknamed the “turkey fowl”. Spanish peepz also got some of these “turkey fowls” from North Africa and Turkey and decided to take up the nickname “turkey fowls” too. For some reason, they decided to shorten it to “turkey”. Hence the name “Turkey”.
The comments confuse me more than the explanation
Lets finish the discussion. Say “Turkey” to the animal, and say “Turkiye” (as “Turchia”) the country. Time to put new words to the litterateur.
And about “Elizabeth”.. It’s just funny.. A comedian used that word just once in a movie. It’s not in common usage..
Due to the inter-play of the words,’ turkey’,'guinea-fowl’ and the country,Turkey,the bird’s inter-Continental migrations and its eventual settling down in North America,I cannot find wood for the trees.
i don’t get it
that is one freaky turkey head
i am someone
I DONT CARE
I didn’t know that ‘pavo’ is turkey! hahaha!!! anyway, I’m glad I don’t eat turkey, and I have no plans to go to turkey!!!
One question though, do they people in turkey eat a turkey?
Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to turkeys? The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice are not enjoyed in common. This sunlight that brought light and healing to you has brought strokes from a whip and death to turkeys. This Thanksgiving is the killer’s, not the turkey’s. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding turkey on this occasion, I will, in the name of. the Constitution and the Animal Rights Declaration which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate murder – the great sin and shame of man.
Turkey mechants = Turkish merchants right?
First of all “If you’ve ever visited Turkey, you probably [HAVE NOT] ate shwarma”, because “shwarma” is the Arabic word for what you would eat in Turkey/Turkiye. The grilled meat on a vertical rotating spit you would see in Greece, Turkey and (Arabic) Middle-East are called “Gyro”, “Doner” and “Shwarma” respectively.
“Gyro”, of course means rotation in Greek, so that one is easy. “Doner” means the same in Turkish, something that turns/rotates. The last one is interesting. The Arabic word used for the delicacy is “shwarma”, which is not an original Arabic word, but a new construct introduced into Arabic to name the food. It is a misspelled/mispronounced version of the Turkish word “Cevirme”. Cevirme (or cevir) also means to rotate in Turkish. While “doner” is a more upscale version of the synonyms, “cevirme”, as a more primitive and rural word, is closer to the Arabic end of the Ottoman geography.
Another interesting side to this is all three versions are quite different in taste, flavor and texture. I believe the food is native to Turks and was borrowed by Greeks and Arabs during the cross-pollination of cuisines during the 600+ year of Ottoman domination of the area.
The Greek version is usually made from ground meat, claimed to be lamb in most Greek restaurants in the USA, but usually made from pork in Greece. Pork of course would not be found in the Islamic cultures of the middle-east and Turkey. Also, ground meat is a newer food preparation method, so the ground meat and pork based Greek version is not really the historically authentic version of the food. Next, the fact that the Arabic version of the food is based on a borrowed Turkish word suggests Arabs adopted this from the Turkish version. Both the Turkish and Arabic version uses sliced steak and not ground meat. Lastly, the origin of the rotating spit of meat is most likely the sticking slices of meat onto a sword over a fire at a campsite, which suggests that the origin of this food is with the nomadic life-style of the Turkic tribes.
Same argument goes for “Shish Kebab/Kabob” you’d see in Greek, Turkish and Arabic restaurants. I am unsure about the origin of “kebab”, but the word “Shish” comes from the Turkish word “sis”, which means spit (as in a narrow, round metal stick ).
Turks do not refer to their country as “Turkey”. Not now, not during the Ottoman period (when the bird was named). It is “Turkiye”, which means “land of Turks”.
However, other non-English speaking European languages refer to the Turks and Turkish lands in sounds similar to English “Turkey”: Turquía (Spanish), Türkei (German), Turquie (French), Turci (Czech), Turco (Italian), Tourkos (Greek), etc.
It’s possible that Czech TURCI or Italian TURCO became TURKEY in English eventually, and the American settlers brought the word to the New World.
Hindi does not mean Indian. Hindi is a language, Hinduism is a religion and people following Hinduism are called Hindus
Really BOR ——- ING
The facts in the article are more or less accurate, once you glean them from the abysmally careless writing.
Voldemort above has the facts pretty much right. The empire that gave rise to modern Turkey was the Ottoman Empire, but even before the actual foundation of the Republic of Turkey, the word “Turkey” was used by Europeans. Anatolia is a geographical region, which was mostly known in the west by the now more-or-less obsolete term Asia Minor.
In Turkey you don’t get “shawarma,” you get döner. It means “turning” or “it turns,” as does the term “gyros” that is more familiar in the US since it was the Greeks who first introduced their version of it there. Incidentally the word shawarma is simply an Arabic pronunciation of the Turkish word çevirme (pron. “chevirmeh”) — which also means “turning” — as Arabic doesn’t have the sounds “v” or “ch”.
And as to our old friend Elisabeth…It is a slang term for masturbation, not because the name Elisabet(h) means something in itself but rather because when you break it up, you get “el” (hand) and “isabet” (hitting, hitting the mark).
On a side note, about today’s Word of the Day, it is written that:
Ogle traces its origins from the Lower German oeglen , “to look at,” but ultimately comes from a now extinct word for “eye,” oog .
While in fact, “oog” is still the Dutch word for “eye” and alive and kicking…
Here is the best accounting of the turkey-Turkiye puzzle I have read.
Talking Turkey: The Story of How the Unofficial Bird of the United States Got Named After a Middle Eastern Country
by Giancarlo Casale
How did the turkey get its name? This seemingly harmless question popped into my head one morning as I realized that the holidays were once again upon us. After all, I thought, there’s nothing more American than a turkey. Their meat saved the pilgrims from starvation during their first winter in New England. Out of gratitude, if you can call it that, we eat them for Thanksgiving dinner, and again at Christmas, and gobble them up in sandwiches all year long. Every fourth grader can tell you that Benjamin Franklin was particularly fond of the wild turkey, and even campaigned to make it, and not the bald eagle, the national symbol. So how did such a creature end up taking its name from a medium sized country in the Middle East? Was it just a coincidence? I wondered. The next day I mentioned my musings to my landlord, whose wife is from Brazil. “That’s funny,” he said, “In Portuguese the word for turkey is ‘peru.’ Same bird, different country.” Hmm.
With my curiosity piqued, I decided to go straight to the source. That very afternoon I found myself a Turk and asked him how to say turkey in Turkish. “Turkey?” he said. “Well, we call turkeys ‘hindi,’ which means, you know, from India.” India? This was getting weird. I spent the next few days finding out the word for turkey in as many languages as I could think of, and the more I found out, the weirder things got. In Arabic, for instance, the word for turkey is “Ethiopian bird,” while in Greek it is “gallapoula” or “French girl.” The Persians, meanwhile, call them “buchalamun” which means, appropriately enough, “chameleon.” In Italian, on the other hand, the word for turkey is “tacchino” which, my Italian relatives assured me, means nothing but the bird. “But,” they added, “it reminds us of something else. In Italy we call corn, which as everybody knows comes from America, ‘grano turco,’ or ‘Turkish grain.’” So here we were back to Turkey again! And as if things weren’t already confusing enough, a further consultation with my Turkish informant revealed that the Turks call corn “misir” which is also their word for Egypt! By this point, things were clearly getting out of hand. But I persevered nonetheless, and just as I was about to give up hope, a pattern finally seemed to emerge from this bewildering labyrinth. In French, it turns out, the word for turkey is “dinde,” meaning “from India,” just like in Turkish. The words in both German and Russian had similar meanings, so I was clearly on to something. The key, I reasoned, was to find out what turkeys are called in India, so I called up my high school friend’s wife, who is from an old Bengali family, and popped her the question. “Oh,” she said, “We don’t have turkeys in India. They come from America. Everybody knows that.” “Yes,” I insisted, “but what do you call them?” “Well, we don’t have them!” she said. She wasn’t being very helpful. Still, I persisted: “Look, you must have a word for them. Say you were watching an American movie translated from English and the actors were all talking about turkeys. What would they say?” “Well…I suppose in that case they would just say the American word, ‘turkey.’ Like I said, we don’t have them.” So there I was, at a dead end. I began to realize only too late that I had unwittingly stumbled upon a problem whose solution lay far beyond the capacity of my own limited resources. Obviously I needed serious professional assistance.
So the next morning I scheduled an appointment with Prof. Sinasi Tekin of Harvard University, a world-renowned philologist and expert on Turkic languages. If anyone could help me, I figured it would be Professor Tekin. As I walked into his office on the following Tuesday, I knew I would not be disappointed. Prof. Tekin had a wizened, grandfatherly face, a white, bushy, knowledgeable beard, and was surrounded by stack upon stack of just the sort of hefty, authoritative books which were sure to contain a solution to my vexing Turkish mystery. I introduced myself, sat down, and eagerly awaited a dose of Prof. Tekin’s erudition. “You see,” he said, “In the Turkish countryside there is a kind of bird, which is called a gulluk. It looks like a turkey but it is much smaller, and its meat is very delicious. Long before the discovery of America, English merchants had already discovered the delicious gulluk, and began exporting it back to England, where it became very popular, and was known as a ‘Turkey bird’ or simply a ‘turkey.’ Then, when the English came to America, they mistook the birds here for gulluks, and so they began calling them ‘turkey” also. But other peoples weren’t so easily fooled. They knew that these new birds came from America, and so they called them things like ‘India birds,’ ‘Peruvian birds,’ or ‘Ethiopian birds.’ You see, ‘India,’ ‘Peru’ and ‘Ethiopia’ were all common names for the New World in the early centuries, both because people had a hazier understanding of geography, and because it took a while for the name ‘America’ to catch on. “Anyway, since that time Americans have begun exporting their birds everywhere, and even in Turkey people have started eating them, and have forgotten all about their delicious gulluk. This is a shame, because gulluk meat is really much, much tastier.” Prof. Tekin seemed genuinely sad as he explained all this to me. I did my best to comfort him, and tried to express my regret at hearing of the unfairly cruel fate of the delicious gulluk.
Deep down, however, I was ecstatic. I finally had a solution to this holiday problem, and knew I would be able once again to enjoy the main course of my traditional Thanksgiving dinner without reservation. Now if I could just figure out why they call those little teeny dogs Chihuahuas….
Really. What makes you more tired? This article or the L-trytophan?
I stopped reading at shwarma and proceeded to fangirl over the Avengers. Priorities.
The turkey merchants are the ones who mistakenly named the guinea fowl the “turkey fowl”. The Spanish traders got it right. This article is still unclear as to the specifics as to why the country Turkey is called Turkey. If the Turkish call a turkey fowl “hindi” , why do they call their own country Turkey?
Ah Barrett – “‘duck-billed platypus’, which is not related to a duck at all but has a similar beak or bill.”
Nope – it’s called a platypus* (yes, it’s a real animal so there is no need for quotation marks) there is only one kind so it needs no defining adjective. It’s not really a great example of animals being named after other animals as it’s name is unique.
Oh and ‘duck-billed’ means having a bill like a duck, not that the animal is realted to ducks (I am fairly certain most people would be aware that it is one of two types of monotreme, not a duck, or any other kind of bird).
* And the plural of Platypus is….? .
I think there are no relation between the bird Turkey and country Turkey. The country Turkey was called by foriegners Turkey, because its real name is Turkieh, where they speak Turkish language over 1000 years ago, and they call the bird Turkey, “Hashtarkhan.”
I red ‘Turkey’ so much I don’t know if it’s even spelled right… I’m not kidding stare at the word you’ll know what I mean.
Tur-key. Turk-ey. Turke-y. T-urkey. Turkey.
WOW! BORING! ALL BOUT BIRDS!
If you’ve visited Turkey, you probably DID NOT eat shwarma, as that is an Arabic dish, both in name and nature… nice and accurate way to start the article!
If Turkey bird called Turkey in America, and Turkey bird called in Turkey as Hindi and what is Turkey bird called in India then? back to being called Turkey, I guess?
The French call a Turkey a “dinde”, like the Turkish. Interestingly, the Dutch name them “Kalkoen”, referring to Calcutta in India.
In Spanish turkey is called ‘pavo’ and the original name in Aztec is ‘Huajolote’ if you ask me the meaning of such word I would say “I really don’t know”.
Yes Maria… which is why (apparently) we now call that large bouncing marsupial a Kangaroo. I once read that when the first explorers reached Australia they asked the local indigenous people the name of the animal, the reply (in English) meant “I don’t know.” I always ask myself how the Aborigines understood the question in the first place, and then who in that very first Landing Party could possibly have understood Aborigine in order to translate?
Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly
enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but
I’m still new to everything. Do you have any points for novice blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.