The Mistake That Gave Turkey (the Bird) the Same Name as Turkey (the Nation)


The republic of Turkey (look north of Egypt, east of Greece) isn’t exactly a breeding ground for the bird that Americans associate with Thanksgiving. In fact, the turkey is native to North America – so why do they share the same name?

Let’s get the facts on the two turkeys. The word turkey has been used to refer to “land occupied by the Turks” since the 1300s and was even used by Chaucer in The Book of the Duchess. The word Turk is of unknown origin, but it’s used in such varying languages as Italian, Arabic, Persian, and many others to refer to people from this region. The land occupied by the Turks was known as the Ottoman Empire from the 1300s until 1922, but following World War I and the fall of the Ottomans, the republic of Turkey was declared, taking on the name that had long referred to that region. As for the turkey with wings, Meleagris gallopavo is an odd-looking bird that’s known for its bare head, wattle, and iridescent plumage.

So how did the land occupied by the Turks become associated with a North American bird? First, we have to get to know another bird: the guinea fowl. This bird bears some resemblance to the American bird. Though it’s native to eastern Africa, the guinea fowl was imported to Europe through the Ottoman Empire and came to be called the turkey-cock or turkey-hen. When settlers in the New World began to send similar-looking fowl back to Europe, they were mistakenly called turkeys.

Every language seems to have radically different names for this bird. The Turkish word is hindi, which literally means “Indian.” The original word in French, coq d’Inde, meant rooster of India, and has since shortened to dinde. These names likely derive from the common misconception that India and the New World were one and the same. In Portuguese, it’s literally a “Peru bird,” and in Malay, it’s called a “Dutch chicken.”

The turkey’s acceptance into the Old World happened quickly. By 1575, the English were enjoying the North American bird at Christmas dinner, and Shakespeare talked about it in Henry IV. Turkeys, as we know them, have fared better than their guinea fowl relatives on the international scene, so you probably haven’t seen it at your local grocery store. But the next time you think about turkey, you can nod to guinea fowls for their Turkish associations.

The previous explanation of this term and its history was a bit confusing, as some commenters noted. We hope recent revisions have helped to clarify the fascinating story of this word.


  1. Leanna obenshain -  December 11, 2016 - 3:20 pm

    Hello from Arkansas and Merry Christmas

  2. Tim -  November 27, 2016 - 8:58 am

    The history of being the New World being associated with India is incorrect.
    At the time, India was called Hindustan (maybe why hindi means indian?)
    The most commonly held belief is that Columbus mistranslated (Italian sailing for the queen of Spain) to say these natives were people of God (de dios) but wrote back en dios. I do not believe this notion, as at the same time they said they were savages, without God (sin dios). Sin dios being shortened to indios is much more believable than Columbus saying he was in India when the country wasn’t even called that in that time. Just as he wouldn’t say he was in Turkey if he was in the Ottoman Empire.
    Reading further comments, I would take everything written here with a grain of salt.

    • Bob -  November 29, 2016 - 1:35 am

      Certainly agree with you that EVERYTHING below be taken with a grain of salt… There is so much variation in these ” Turkey Tales” that I am no further along in understanding why a turkey is called a turkey than I was when I started reading this little article…. Appears people are a bit more interested in claiming some intellectual real estate for themselves than in getting at the truth…. Bunch of Turkeys : )

  3. SamTheGreenCat -  November 26, 2016 - 5:47 pm

    I was taught the name Turkey came from the Roman Latin word for the colour Turquoise.The colour of the sea off the coast of what is now modern day Turkey ! The Romans sailors referred to it “as the land with the coast of Turquoise “in their own language. I was also taught that the word Turkey for the bird was because Turkish merchant sailors brought them back live from North America to sell in Europe for a bit of extra money .What once was referred to as the bird that the men from Turkey sell just eventually became known as a Turkey bird , then just a Turkey over a period of time !

  4. SamTheGreenCat -  November 26, 2016 - 5:40 pm

    I was taught the name Turkey came from the Roman Latin word for the colour Turquoise.The colour of the sea off the coast of what is now modern day Turkey ! The Romans sailors referred to it “as the land with the coast of Turquoise “in their own language. I was also taught that the word Turkey for the bird was because Turkish merchant sailors brought them back live from North America to sell in Europe for a bit of extra money .What once was referred to a the bird the men from Turkey sell just eventually became known as a Turkey bird , then just a Turkey over a period of time !

    • Jeannie -  December 5, 2016 - 12:48 am

      Actually it is the opposite, the name for Turquoise comes from Turkey, since the mineral was first imported to Europe from there in 17th century.

  5. Milan -  November 25, 2016 - 11:02 am

    Here is yet another summary the way I understood it. Originally there once had been a bird looking somewhat like our native American bird we now call turkey which had its real origins in east Africa. This African poultry’s name was guinea-fowl and it was imported into Europe through the nation of Turkey so they first got to be called turkey-fowl and then just turkey. But our own native American turkeys (not yet called turkeys), were alos imported to Europe and these two somewhat similar birds’ got confused. Then, when the guinea-fowl disappeared from the scene, just the American bird now called turkey remained.

  6. Jamie alums -  November 25, 2016 - 4:54 am

    they did not tell us were it is from :/

  7. axduman -  November 14, 2016 - 1:00 pm

    This is, one of the bird has different name in countries and languages 1-İn English as you know is ”turkey”, also meaning a country Turkey 2- İn Turkish is ”hindi’ and Turkish people call India in Turkish as Hindistan the land of Hindi 3- In Armenian is ‘hntkahav’ the chicken from india or inidan chicken and the other languages like Catalan ”gall d’indi”, French ”la dinde”, Hebrew ”tarnegol hodu”, Maltese ”dundjan”, Polish ”indyk” also has a touch to India or meaning something about India 4- In Nederlands ”kalkoen”, Indonesian ”kalkun”, Icelandic ”villi kalkunn”, Litany ”kalakutas”, Norwegian ”kalkun”Sinhalese language”kalakuma” is a reagion in india Calicut 5- In greek ”gallopoúla”, Chimeric “moan barang”, Celtic “cearc frangach” the maening all of them French Chicken 6- Croatian ”puran”, Hawaiian language ”pelehu”, Hindi ”peru”, Portuguese ”peru”, Rotuman language”perehu”, the meaning all of them Peru the country Peru 7-In Arabish ” dik rumi” or ”dagag rumi” the meaning of this Roman/Byzantium/Greek chicken 8-In Russian ”indeyka” there is a touch to American Indian 9-Vietnamese”ga tay” meaning of it western chicken. so this is a bird originally comes from North America there is nothing about Turkey, India, French etc.

    • Avid -  November 22, 2016 - 5:47 am


    • Jamie alums -  November 25, 2016 - 4:52 am

      ya but were dose it come from??

    • Sigfrido Petterssen Ferreira -  November 26, 2016 - 12:14 pm

      What about Mexico? When the Spanish men came at this country they found these fowls among the Aztecs that they called “guajolote”. We are talking about 1519. What do you think?

  8. kircayigit -  October 14, 2016 - 12:28 pm

    Hi, I’m Turkish.

    The name Turkey (tr. Türkiye) came from the Ancient Celts who came to the land of Anatolia. Their capital named Turkije. It was before the 3th century BC.

    You can see some similarities if you search well Troi (tr. Truva / Troya) has the 3 litterals: TRY.

    There are too many things to say. When The Greek King Agamemnon came to Anatolia against Troi, Achilles killed the Troi Prince Hector. When The Ottoman Empiror Fatih Sultan Mehmet got the city Constantinopolis (tr. Istanbul) in 1453, he said “I got the revenge of Hector.” After the WWI, England’s warship called Agamemnon was the place where the Ottoman Empire has to sign the deal. The founder of the Modern Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk repeated the sentence “I got the revenge of Hector.” just after kicked the Greek Soldiers from Smyrna (tr. İzmir) and destroy the old deal.

    Well, we’re the center of this beautiful world. If you can look closely to countreis in this area, you’ll enjoy: IRAq (tr. IRAk) & IRAn (tr IRAn) & Syrie (tr. sURIye) & Israil (hIRAm) is not a coinsidence: tURkey. Why Ukraine has the same letters?? Anyway. Don’t forget the letter U too. Urss, Uk, Usa… You can easily notice that they put U letter for some reason.

    Keep calm and enjoy the Holy-Wood.

    • Yorgos -  October 17, 2016 - 2:21 pm

      You made me laugh :D
      You mean that turks are progeny of… greek Hector???
      Anyway, the greek version of turkey is “galopoula” that becomes from the original scientific name of the bird, Meleagris gallopavo.

      • Starlinx -  November 24, 2016 - 11:40 pm

        Don’t know what you were laughing about. Perhaps at your own ignorance?

        Hector was not greek. Hector and Paris were princes of Truva (in Turkish), Troia (in Greek) Troy (in English) in Anatolia (Asia Minor), later Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire and currently Turkey.

    • Donald Ducke -  November 25, 2016 - 12:22 pm

      Why would the Celts name their capital after a bird?

  9. supacow360 -  August 29, 2016 - 2:45 pm

    Cool. Good to know. c:

    • Chris -  October 4, 2016 - 9:33 pm

      Homonyms can occur in different languages and just because they sound the same doesn’t mean that they have any commonality in origin. I think trying to find common origin in homonyms from different languages can be misleading and raise erroneous theories.

      • Astral Spirit -  November 11, 2016 - 12:55 pm

        Many words that have the same sound & spelling & have a different meaning, do actually mean the same thing if u think about it logically.

        Take the Word Chase; It can mean “to pursue” and “to ornament metal”, or to make a groove in a wall to install a cable or pipe.

        Logically they are all chasing in the same way because when u ornament metal this way it is done with a fluid or something molten, so it is chasing the lines that it follows, & similarly cutting a groove in a wall is chasing a line, like an Earthquake causes a crack to appear at the surface because it is chasing the fault line.

  10. Danny -  July 10, 2016 - 10:33 pm

    It is known that the name of Turk goes back to at shortest to 200-300 AD. The name Turkey (in different forms of ‘Land of Turks’) had been created and started to used by the west even before the Ottoman period for nearby locations where they were populated by Turks.

  11. ilkim -  July 3, 2016 - 7:27 pm

    The origin of the word Turk is not unknown. It comes from Turkic people of central Asia. It comes from ‘yürük’ which literally means ‘walker’. And it also has a connotation of a fast walking person. In time it changes from yürük to Türük to Türk, which is the name of the people. There are several Turkic nations mostly spread through Europe and Central Asia. Also their language family is totally different from Latin or Germanic families. And the nations that include that language may surprise you quite a bit actually, which includes Finnish, Hungarian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Kazakh, Mongolian, Korean and even Japanese.

    • Karl Kieli -  August 19, 2016 - 11:39 pm

      The language family you are refering to for the larger Turkic language family does not exist. It was a theory that got started during the time of national romanticism in the 19th century. The idea was called “turanism” and it has since been abandoned by linguists, though there are still pockets of nationalists keeping the idea alive (the current situation in Hungary is one example). Turkish defined today as its own group, not actually related to Finno-Ugric or Mongolian languages, and certainly not Korean and Japanese. Bulgarian is a Slavic language.

      • Karl Kieli -  August 19, 2016 - 11:40 pm

        The language family you are refering to for the larger Turkic language family does not exist. It was a theory that got started during the time of national romanticism in the 19th century. The idea was called “turanism” and it has since been abandoned by linguists, though there are still pockets of nationalists keeping the idea alive (the current situation in Hungary is one example). Turkish defined today as its own group, not actually related to Finno-Ugric or Mongolian languages, and certainly not Korean and Japanese. Bulgarian is a Slavic language.

    • Özgür -  August 25, 2016 - 2:00 pm

      It actually means walking Türk which refers nomading

    • Astral Spirit -  November 11, 2016 - 1:01 pm

      All European Languages except German, still have a lot of Latin in them & the other part of them is based on Arabic. Turkish is based in Arabic & Ancient Greek & Latin.

      • Sid -  November 23, 2016 - 11:42 am

        Astral, you have your linguistic knowledge all mixed up. Turkish is NOT from Arabic at all, though it has borrowed Arabic words. As for European languages, please look up Indo-European languages on Google.

  12. bashtherock -  March 25, 2016 - 11:38 am

    Greetings to all people around the world! There is just a mistake in article: Turks are in Anatolia since 11th century not 1300. 1299 (not 1300) is establishment of Ottoman beylik from Kayı tribe of Turks. Which is one of many Beyliks(small state) after fell of Seljuk Turkish state. With love to all Mankind, stay with love!

  13. Ömer -  February 27, 2016 - 1:15 am

    You guys just spamming and commenting unfairly. I’m from Turkey and I’m proud of it. I actually don’t mind what did you say about that word, cause even if our nation’s name is same with the bird’s name, apparently we’re not same with it. I thought, you can understand diversity between Turkey and turkey word’s meaning without ponder. There is a one big reason why bad meanings are homonymic with Turkey word. And it is this: English leaders didn’t like Turkish people and Ottoman Empire on time.

    • hb kaplan -  March 2, 2016 - 2:18 pm

      Ömer. Ignore these people as they really aren’t making fun of Turkey. They are simply having fun with the words and don’t intend to insult anyone. Specifically the word turkey is an irresistible object of fun because of some slang definitions of turkey in english (american). I don’t know much about Turkish culture, although my few experiences with Turks are that they have a great deal of native pride which makes sense given your long fascinating history. Generally, no one includes the country in the jokes.

      • Thomas Pray -  October 29, 2016 - 5:13 am

        I spent 2 years in Turkey stationed at Karamursel Common Defense Installation. I lived in Yalova. I found the Turks a wonder Nation. Proud of their Heritage but friendly. Respectful of Diversity. I had a wonderful time exploring the Country and meeting it People.

    • Bianca -  March 27, 2016 - 8:58 am

      When I first started to learn English I got confused, because in mothertongue is Peru but it also exists a country in South America called Peru then I found out that Turkey (Europe/southeast asian country) is Turkey which saying We have Peru/turkeys (joke words) lost it sense. The same thing happen about Brazilian and the capital of Brazil: Brazilian whom are very similar in Turkish.

    • Turkeylover -  April 8, 2016 - 11:38 am

      Turkeys behave like turkeys.
      Maybe thats the reason.

    • MUSHTAQ -  November 10, 2016 - 9:59 am

      I like your concluding comment so much.
      Even people in this blessed and beautiful land of Turkey do pronounce the word Turkey much differently as it is pronounced in the English language.
      Even if it is the similar name, does it matter??? The people of this nation are loving, affectionate, generous, cleanliness-loving, just opposite to the West. Long live Turkey! I am not a Turkish citizen but I do love this great nation!

  14. Sky the Hedgehog -  February 23, 2016 - 6:03 pm

    The turkey: the rooster, hen, chicken, fowl, bird?
    But it IS delicious.

  15. Sumer -  December 26, 2015 - 10:24 am

    Good day , can an Indian person tell us what the is the name of Turkey bird in native indian language ?

    • hihi -  June 17, 2016 - 12:21 pm

      Tarkee, Google translate says

    • Akil -  July 5, 2016 - 1:41 am

      Greetings from India. In my language, Tamil, a turkey is called a ‘Vaan Kozhi’. Vaan meaning ‘sky’ and Koli meaning ‘chicken’

      • Akil -  July 5, 2016 - 1:44 am

        Turkey is a bird that looks like chicken but much larger. This bird is not native to Tamil Nadu and when it entered Tamil Nadu (possibly brought in by merchants), Tamils called it vaankozhi. This is also a composition of two Tamil words vaan and kozhi: vaan (வான்) – vanam (வனம்) – jungle, kozhi (கோழி) – chicken. They called it jungle chicken because turkey is much bigger than chicken and seem undomesticated.

  16. JOE JOE -  December 22, 2015 - 11:54 pm

    I also call it YUM YUM!

    • pFKNcake -  November 24, 2016 - 4:45 am

      … in my tum tum!
      Then out my bum bum.

      Sorry to everyone for my immature comment. It was really dumb dumb.

  17. JOE JOE -  December 22, 2015 - 11:28 pm

    Guinea fowl , Dutch chicken, I call it DINNER!
    thanksgiving dinner!

  18. EZ -  December 14, 2015 - 6:00 pm

    I think all of your opinons are wrong. The bird is called “Turkey” because it speaks Turkish: Gur Gul GulGulGul — (that means how are you in Turkish).


    • Jerome -  December 23, 2015 - 3:01 am

      There was a scholarly article written in the 1990s ( I am sorry I do not remember which reputable institution it was from but with some research you can find it). There were Turkish sailors, probably pirates who visited and settled along the east coast in the early 1500s (I believe it was in the Carolinas). They had a predilection for eating this bird and so other nearby colonists gave the name ‘Türkiye” to the bird. There is literary evidence for this etymology.

    • Tugce -  January 1, 2016 - 8:16 am

      Hahahha god damn man :D I am from Turkey I’m Turkish and your words are bullshit. How are you’s mean not gur gul gul gul in Turkish. And absolutely your all opinions are wrong :D

    • Vic -  January 25, 2016 - 7:33 am

      Hi EZ, I like your sense of humor. Your explanation is both witty and hilarious.

  19. Devin -  December 5, 2015 - 4:56 am

    I am not sure this is true. As contrary to the overwhelmingly popular opinion, Ottomans were not associated with the Turks. Ottomans were united with one large philosophy only, panislamism. The idea of Turkishness originated from the idea of a core element to a nation state. It is a construction of the 20th century, deriding it’s roots from the French revolution of the 18-19th century. There happened a great deal of work to construct a nation based on Turks including but not limited to educational doctrination and “scientific” research of history and linguistics. Suffice to say, the policy has been extremely succesful as 99 percent of the Turks you may meet will dismiss this and reply with a simple gesture of their hand.

    Based on the person you meet, the strength of the gesture might vary on a large scale! This poster is not responsible for any possible injuries.

    • Jake Casablanca -  December 16, 2015 - 11:51 pm

      Very incorrect. The Ottomons were aways called Turks because they were Turk. The name Turkey is derived from the Latin Turchia, which in old French is Turquie and inturn became the English word through deviation overtime in spelling such as Torke,Turkie,Turky which are found in thousands of books from the 13th century to the height of the Ottomon Empire and beyond.
      The Turkic people (Oghuz Turks) came from Central Asia to Eastern Anatolia and this period was called The Seljuk Empire which spread and became the Ottoman Empire, named for the Osman Dynasty. Hence, the only people that could be called Ottoman where the actual rulers – not the inhabitants, who were Turks (in Anatolia). The idea and term Pan-Arabism was created in the 20th century, the unifying force of the Ottomon Empire was subservience to the Sultanate by the people of the Empire just how the people of the Roman Empire were subservient to Rome but not necessary Roman.

  20. Juliana -  December 1, 2015 - 9:38 am

    Actually, in Portuguese, we just call the turkey “peru”, without the addition of the word “bird”, which in Portuguese is “ave”. So we don’t call it “ave peru”, we just call it “peru”. Then the name of the South-American country is also Peru, but with a capital P. A Peruvian man is “peruano” and a woman is “peruana”. And the name of the country that is called “Turkey” in English is “Turquia” in Portuguese.

    • Juliana -  December 1, 2015 - 9:42 am

      I’d just like to add something I forgot to write previously, but had been meaning to write: I really like how my Native language (Portuguese) was mentioned! xD I wasn’t expecting it, it was a nice surprise. :-)

    • Duncan Lake -  March 17, 2016 - 9:14 am

      Hha we should be calling the bird İdaho

  21. erdogan -  November 30, 2015 - 2:02 pm

    Dear all,
    As far as i could figure out all the confusion about the nomenclature of the bird comes from the pronunciation differences in different languages. As a Turk. I have nothing to say about the English name of my country since we ourselves call Egypt, as Misır ( =Corn in English) and , India as Hindistan ( In Turkish the country where Hindis(=turkey) live)
    This article tells about a possible explanation for this misnomer. Nevertheless, I might have some points to be objected ( for example: i do not think that the land was named as Turkey at the times when the trade of this bird was done. It was Ottoman Empire and, in Her, lots of ethnic elements including Turks as majority were living. Hence the bird exported from Ottomans has should not been named as Turkey hen. Because a country named as Türkiye was named after the Ottoman empire reign expired.) The pronunciation of Türkiye is somewhat similar to turkey. I believe the reason why a country named with the same word for a bird is just because of the similarity of their pronunciation. If you would check other European languages you will see the pronounciation of the country Türkiye, is similar to the original word.
    I sincerely wonder whether the same bird was called as turkey at the time of Benjamin Franklın, since a country named as Türkiye was not founded yet at those times .
    To prevent offensive implications; in Turkish we call Indians as Hintli not hindi (=turkey). I wonder why our foreign Ministry does not try to correct this English misnomer and, convince all English speaking countries to call our country as “Turkiye”.

    • Gunay -  December 14, 2015 - 8:31 am

      I have some objections. Actually Europeans, mainly Italians called Ottoman Empire lands as “Turchia”, not Ottoman Empire. So probably the English also called then Turkey in those times. Also we call the people of India as “hintli” in modern Turkish. But in old Turkish, we call them “Hindi”. Hindi is also the name of the bird called turkey in Turkish.

      Anyway I don’t care how the English call us. The name of my country is Turkiye although even it is not Turkish :).

  22. confused -  November 26, 2015 - 8:57 am

    I agree with “Bush Basher”. If so many cultures have different origins for this bird according to their languages? And Arabic even has multiple origins for the turkey bird? ….. Something is amiss here!!!!!!! WHY is the history of this bird being covered up?

    • Unknown -  November 30, 2015 - 4:56 pm

      It’s the Government. This Bird is an Alien!!

      • Victory Diva -  November 18, 2016 - 7:56 am

        Hmmmmm. Pretty cool. I also don’t know anything about this stuff.

  23. GOSSIP QUEEN -  November 25, 2015 - 7:12 am


    • bob the builders cousin -  November 25, 2015 - 9:49 am

      Whoa that’s some cool stuffing.

  24. Chidi Anslem -  November 25, 2015 - 4:07 am

    This is very funny though informative. Lol

  25. David -  November 24, 2015 - 2:59 pm

    English only happens in English, not other language has the same similarity

  26. TURKEY -  November 23, 2015 - 10:22 am

    Buck Buck Bwark :>.

    • Bessie the Cow -  November 25, 2015 - 9:50 am


  27. kiran -  November 22, 2015 - 6:12 pm

    The article should have given the name of the American bird which was imported to Europe through Ottoman Empire and similar to guinea fowl of Eastern Africa and subsequently called “Turkey”. I suppose the American bird is “Goose”.

  28. Turkey -  November 21, 2015 - 9:20 am

    Buck buck

  29. HI -  November 21, 2015 - 9:19 am

    Very funny

  30. monokitty -  November 20, 2015 - 6:52 am

    This is ca-ray-z! ;)

  31. :)) -  November 20, 2015 - 4:31 am

    the origin of “turk” is vaporatatıon sound of water on hot iron(turks are the oldest users of stell) many turkish words have basıic roots and meaning for example “trunk” came from body(human) or a “radical” came from “root”(tree) kurd is the cracking sound of hard snow

    • Jeff -  November 25, 2015 - 5:40 am

      I hope “stell” is a typo. I can’t make any sense out of it.

      • Yusra -  December 30, 2015 - 8:20 am

        @Jeff at “I hope “stell” is a typo. I can’t make any sense out of it.” keep digging into Petty issues, lol

  32. sansa -  July 27, 2015 - 12:05 pm

    i think that eouropen merchants named turkey the bird turky as an insult to turkish people. as we know turkey the bird is a stupid bird and english people named it because the hated ottoman empire. ven in persian the name of turks means stupid or donkey. in iranian turks are considered as a very stupid nation. its quite possible that europeans considered turks as a stupid nation so they called turkey as stupid as turkey the bird. its a very strong assomption.

    • piti -  September 14, 2015 - 1:15 pm

      you don’t even have ability for think something…**

      • Doma -  October 28, 2015 - 2:30 am

        This is the most brilliant reply

        • Unknown Person(at least u know i m a person) -  November 30, 2015 - 3:40 pm

          but they didnt go though how it was mistaken

    • Hi -  October 7, 2015 - 11:53 am


    • Michael Gonzalez -  October 12, 2015 - 3:21 pm

      I believe you are making a great deal of assumptions since any turkey hunter will tell you that they are keen sighted intelligent birds that you will have limited success if you pursue. Instead best practice is to attract them to your location with decoys and bird calling while you sit completely camouflaged in a blind. Turkey hunting takes a great deal of skill and patience.

    • Zb -  October 16, 2015 - 2:04 pm

      In fact turkeys are very intelligent birds. So much so that they were almost chosen instead of the eagle as the national symbol of the United States

      • Doma -  October 28, 2015 - 2:31 am

        Which probably explains the state of the states today

        • packman -  November 14, 2015 - 4:26 am

          nom nom nom LOL

          • pham viet hoang -  December 8, 2015 - 6:33 am

            lol is just for a joke.

      • sam E. -  November 23, 2015 - 5:58 pm

        By Benjamin Franklin, if my memory serves correct.

    • Sarah -  November 22, 2015 - 7:13 am

      I wonder what the definition, translation, origin is of the term ” inferiority complex ” is?

      • K220 -  November 28, 2015 - 11:56 am

        How exactly does that link?

    • Sinae -  November 24, 2015 - 9:31 am


    • alexis -  November 24, 2015 - 1:26 pm

      sansa is idiot :)

  33. Airon A. Nascimento -  November 28, 2014 - 9:52 am

    i found it really surprising that confused, in the goos sense, way how a country and bird´s name have influenced each other.
    here in Brazil we call the bird simply, peru.
    And other curious thing claimed my attention now, why is a latin american nation´s called Peru?

    Turk, coq d’Inde, peru or whatever that bird seemed to blaze the trail on nation´s identities,

    • Cidália -  December 26, 2014 - 6:14 am

      Yes, any Portuguese speaking area simply calls it, “Peru.” I’ve never seen anyone use the word “bird” with it.

      • Cidália -  December 26, 2014 - 6:15 am

        As for the nation, Peru, the bird likely got its name in Portuguese from the nation, and not the other way around.

  34. Phil -  November 28, 2014 - 6:00 am

    I like the word for turkey in Chinese: “火鸡” (huoji), which means “fire chicken.”

    • Sri -  January 8, 2015 - 6:56 pm

      This is crazy.
      In Tamil (a South Indian language), ostriches are called “fire-chickens” and turkeys are called “sky-chickens”.
      Funny how the world works.

      • Naz -  November 23, 2015 - 4:56 am

        In Malay, fire chicken refers to Guinea fowl.

    • Unknown -  November 30, 2015 - 4:58 pm

      “fire chicken” = When the Turkey is in the oven for Thanksgiving

  35. HELEN, The State -  November 27, 2014 - 6:45 pm

    TURKEY is the name of a Government that exists in the context of a particular geographical area (or perhaps government, if the organization is not operating Legitimately).

    The reference to a TURKEY as a living, self-aware process is obsolete usage (usage of a prior EPOCH).

    In a prior EPOCH, TURKEYS were very similar genetically to TRUISTS (present category name TRUE HARC HAN AN GEL), but TURKEYS were primarily sepia in color (or chocolate in color). (The reference to color is not a reference to cognitive style or temperament.) TURKEYS were legally in a separate category from TRUSTS that were usually much lighter in color (bright white, cream whites, anc other lighter combinations of colors). TU:RKEYS (using a prior EPOCH name momentarily) were typically a single point in ENCEPHALOUS size (similar in ENCEPHALOUS size to many populations of MAN).

    In this EPOCH anc in all EPOCHS into the future, TRUE HARC HAN AN GEL are inclusive of specifications that are not light in color (thus, there is not a separate category of TURKEY). There is usually an assignment of a name for each TRUE HARC HAN AN GEL specification. (New combinations might temporarily lack specification names.) TRUE HARC HAN AN GEL are similar to BURSA anc HENS in that TRUE HARC HAN AN GEL are usually FULL PEONA. TRUE HARC HAN AN GEL have hans (hans are not part of the specifications of BURSA) anc fly (flying is not part of the specification of HENS) in higher-ensity atmospheres that support flying of BIOLOGICAL populations that are larger in size than tiny BURSAM (similar in appearance to what populations in the local context label as Bir$s). .

    The picture in the article is not that of a TURKEY (or a Turkey-cock).. There was mention of the expression “Turkey-cock” to refer to the subject in the picture. In the past, the expression “Turkey-cock” was analogous to the use of the name croco$ile (cock is from croc). A croco$Ile was a Not-Legitimate living process showing a resemblance to an ALLIGATOR externally. ALLLIGATORS were Legitimate populations of relatively large ENCELPHALOUS size (over 5 points usually). A Turkey-cock was a Not-Legitimate living process showing a resemblance to a TURKEY externally. In this particular case, there were a large number of illegal genetic changes to the “Turkey-cock,” inclusive of changes to lower the intellect; There is not any assumption that the ‘cock” suffix is accurate: the subject is possibly Legitimate but is not sufficient in genetics. Legitimacy is the expectation in LAW.

    • Turkey -  November 21, 2015 - 9:22 am

      WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

    • Turkey -  November 21, 2015 - 9:23 am

      That’s new :)

      • greek_guy -  February 12, 2016 - 1:55 pm

        well, all those names for a simple bird. in my this bird name is ‘poul’. thats it

  36. Bill Hawkrigg -  November 27, 2014 - 1:54 am

    Wait, There’s a place called England? Do Engs live there? What language do they speak?

    • Roona -  October 11, 2015 - 3:16 pm

      Angles they speak AEnglish where the combined grapheme of A and E is reduced to an E in modern usage. See ‘History’.

    • HotSpice -  December 1, 2015 - 4:39 am

      What? You don’t know England?!

      • icequeenxoxo -  December 2, 2015 - 11:29 am

        lol they must be Americans me on the other hand i live in the uk i understand 8)

        • icequeenxoxo -  December 2, 2015 - 11:31 am

          were the heck is he from England is like big talk :0

      • Anna -  December 9, 2015 - 10:53 pm

        I seriously hope Bill is joking….if he’s not, I have no idea what to say to them. He does seem to be joking though…..so whatever

  37. Andrè M. Pietroschek -  November 26, 2014 - 8:43 pm

    Informative clarification, thanks. Well, otherwise there would be a known Döner Kebap or Lahmacun with the bird-turkey in it… Sorry Veggies.

  38. Hugo Flores -  November 26, 2014 - 4:02 pm

    In Mexico the turkey was originally called “guajolote”, from the nahuatl word huexólotl (big monster). Today we call it “Pavo”.

  39. Rafael -  November 26, 2014 - 2:31 pm

    It reads “Portugese”, which is a misspelling of “Portuguese”.

    • Mike -  November 25, 2015 - 5:07 am

      That most probably came from an exotic goose breed. As ancient goose were quite big and heavy, they were difficult to transport. That’s why they searched for a species that tasted like them but were smaller and thus lighter,and more Porta- (“Portu”) ble. As the species was first discovered by the Portuguese, they became known as Portu-geese, later Portugese for short.
      Interesting how these things go..

  40. salah -  November 26, 2014 - 6:57 am

    why does there and their sound the same ?

  41. Rapha -  November 26, 2014 - 5:40 am

    Just a quick info to make it even more confusing: In Portuguese, turkey (the bird) translates to “peru”. The Latin American country Peru translates to “Peru”. In both languages the same word refers to a country and a bird, even though it’s a different country! I’d already talked about this subject some time ago, on my blog: http://alinguadefora.blogspot.com/2012/07/turkey-country-or-bird.html

  42. Chamelea -  October 8, 2014 - 11:52 pm

    First of all THANK YOU. I’ve wanted to know this forever. Second, there is a minor typo here: “By 1575, the English were enjoying the North American bird at Christmas dinner, and Shakespeare talked about it in Henry IV. Turkeys, as we know ****thm****”

    • Kyle -  November 26, 2014 - 10:16 am

      A blog post written by an ignorant, for ignorants… It is called Turkiye, first of all. If you have a problem with the Turkish people and where they live or lived, or what they had done to you, keep it to yourself.

  43. Ottowat -  July 31, 2014 - 12:19 pm

    Shwarma is an arabic dish and literally you can’t find it anywhere in Turkey. So yeah if you have ever visited Turkey, you probably never had shwarma.

    > This name likely derived from the common misconception that India and the New World were one and the same.

    Also this is a bold assumption without any factual evidence.

    Please refrain from bullshitting in your blog posts. Thanks.

    • Danny -  October 22, 2014 - 6:59 pm

      You’re quite wrong, actually!

      It is true that Shawarma is an Arabic dish, but its Turkish equivalent is called ‘Doner’ and it is a very common dish in Turkey (You can pretty much find it in most Turkish restaurants)..
      They are practically the same dish, but with different names..

      Note: I am of Arabic origin and I’ve been living in Turkey for quite some time now.. so i pretty much know this for a fact!

      Thanks! :-)

      • Insua -  November 26, 2014 - 9:19 am

        And there is another point!

        The pronunciation of the word “Shawarma” (Şavarma) is quite close to Turkish word “Çevirme”; which means “spin-circular motion” in Turkish.

        Çevirmek (verb): To rotate, to spin

        Çevirme (noun) : Spin, circular motion

        If in Arabic the verb for “to rotate or to spin” doesn’t sound something like “Shawarma”; that might prove the word and the dish migrated to Arabian Peninsula in this way.

      • Turk from Turkiye -  June 10, 2015 - 8:01 am

        Where did or do you live in Turkiye,cause never not in a million years Shawarma tastes the same as Doner,ive had both.
        The spices used for Doner are different from that of Shawarma,get your facts right buddy.

        • Lane -  November 19, 2015 - 7:33 am


    • Liam -  November 28, 2014 - 9:05 am

      “This is a bold assumption without any factual evidence”. The whole point of Christopher Columbus’s first voyage was to discover a new naval route to… India! What did he do when he discovered the Native Americans… He called them Indians. The french did too. Naturally, it can actually be assumed with great certainty that they would call the local birds Indian. Simple conclusion, great deal of factual evidence. Thanks.

      • Michael Auld -  November 21, 2016 - 4:52 pm

        Why do we still believe that Columbus “discovered” people in the Americas who have been here 50,000+ years before him? He was probably 13th in the line of humans who arrived in the my part of the Americas. As far as we know, the earliest humans came via the northern “American” continent.

        As for the bird, maybe the Nahua (Mexican) word “guajolote” is more appropriate. We do use many words derived from either Taino or Nahua for items (avocado, potato, chocolate and chili to name a few) that came from this hemisphere. The Nahua people were the first known to domesticate the guajolote. Not the country of Turkey from which it did not come. Give credit where it is due.

    • Arman -  November 29, 2014 - 10:59 am

      My current place of residence is Ankara, TR and we have a Shawarma place here. My Syrian roommate goes as far as saying it is the best Shawarma he’s ever had.

  44. Ozgur -  June 25, 2014 - 8:05 am

    The name turkey for the country did not exist during the ottoman empire.
    Ppl identified themselves as Ottoman and the land was called by the name of the region’s like anatolia.
    So the Spanish bringing birds has nothing to do with why the English decided to name us turkey.
    In Turkish the name of the republic is no where close to a bird

    • nayumhie -  July 19, 2014 - 2:23 am

      hi i’m nayumhie from Philippines
      i want to get a little information about the country of turkey for school purposes .hope you can give some information
      thank you :)

      • samuel -  November 27, 2014 - 5:33 am

        or you could jst go to their national website

      • Alley Oop -  November 28, 2014 - 3:24 pm

        Hello Nayumhie, I suggest going to a library or doing some Internet research. Just be careful because everything on the Internet is not automatically correct.

  45. Tina Stephanie -  March 26, 2014 - 7:02 am

    Hi, I am Tina Stephanie !!!
    … One boy is killing my head in fb by speaking in turkey he is sayin something in turkish language .. so, I dont understand !!
    Am from America, california , los angeles …
    So I dont know turkish language !!!
    so please anyone can tell me how to say” I dont know turkish language I am american” .. in turkish language please !!

    • palanci -  April 10, 2014 - 6:14 am

      Hello… i am from Turkey……
      Ben türkce bilmiyorum, ben amerikaliyim….
      means: i dont know turkish, iam american…..

    • m.ert -  May 8, 2014 - 11:45 pm

      Tell him ” Ben Türkçe bilmiyorum. Ben Amerikan’ım. Bas git.”

    • Marce -  November 27, 2014 - 12:33 am

      I am from America. I was born in Argentina, and was raised in the United States of America since I was only 18 months old. I became a citizen of the USA. I am even a 100% permanently disabled veteran of the U.S. Army.
      As patriotic as I may be to the USA, I still hate it when people from the USA call themselves American.
      I understand why this occurs, but in this day and age, there should be a stop put to this.
      Yes, you are American, but you are not from all the countries that make up America, from Canada, down to the most southern tips of Chile and Argentina, and all the countries in between. People from ALL those countries are American.
      So if you must say where you are from, say “I am from the U.S.A., California, Los Angeles”….although that is kind of backwards to me anyway…so “Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
      If you were to put America as a country if you were mailing yourself something from overseas…well, that is just not common practice. The address is U.S.A.
      Thank you.

    • Marce -  November 27, 2014 - 12:37 am

      Also, did you ever think to put it in a google translator, or any translator?
      I find that the google one is best in most cases, and bing is TERRIBLE.
      You can still answer back in English, and then that boy can put it in a translator.

  46. nil rajput -  January 8, 2014 - 11:45 am

    you can also large collection of music/ images/ videos/ android apps from this website I just found while browsing: http://www.goople.com

    • Victory Diva -  November 18, 2016 - 8:07 am

      What is Narrow winding street?

  47. Ash -  December 3, 2013 - 2:42 pm

    The capital USED to be Istanbul, but it’s been Ankara since the Ottoman Empire fell in 1923.

  48. setare -  December 2, 2013 - 2:25 am

    Ankara is not the capital of turkey. Istanbul is the capital which is a beautiful city.

    • CJD -  October 13, 2014 - 7:13 am

      it would have taken you about 3 seconds to google “capital of Turkey” to see that it is in fact Ankara, why comment when you don’t know!

  49. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 28, 2013 - 10:22 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving everybody! If you like pie, post :O-v in your comment. The :O is a face with the mouth open, and the -v is a hand holding a slice of pie. I am thankful for the freedom to worship God.

    Huh. Isn’t Hindu a religion? Or does Hindu mean Indian and the religion in Turkish?

    • Marce -  November 27, 2014 - 12:44 am

      Hindu is a religion, Hindi is a person from India.

      • Marce -  November 27, 2014 - 12:51 am

        Sorry. I also meant to say that Hindi is also the name of the language spoken in India.
        So, as an adjective, Hindi would describe that a person is from India.
        As a noun it is the language.
        But Hindu is still the religion, as far as I know.
        I am sure someone else here knows more than I do.

  50. Murat Tanyel -  November 28, 2013 - 8:19 pm

    It looks like in many languages this bird is named according to where people thought it came from. I just found out from friends on TrekEarth that in France it is “dinde” derived from “de l’Inde,” referring to the West Indies. In Flemish, it is “kalkoen” because they thought that the bird came from the Indian city of Calcutta.

    • Arman -  November 29, 2014 - 11:05 am

      In German it is Truthahn/-huhn(female). Huhn for chicken and Trut for the sound that the turkey makes.

    • Iype George -  December 2, 2016 - 4:09 pm

      It must be Calcutta, a place in kerala South India. The native language there is Malayalam. In Malayalam Calicut is also known as Kozikode, which also means the place of chickens. Lots of cross links. Very interesting

  51. Sanjay -  November 28, 2013 - 5:24 am

    I am an Indian, and as far as I understand, the word ‘Hindi ‘ as an adjective does mean Indian,or pertaining to ‘Hind’ – another name for India.This includes the name of our national language, which is called ‘HINDI’.

    The word ‘Hindu’ refers to a follower of the Hindu faith – the major faith of India. So a person could be a Hindi
    as well as a Hindu
    as well as be speaking Hindi !
    An American could also be a Hindu,without being a Hindi :)

    • Bandito -  November 28, 2014 - 6:51 am

      I’m a little Hindu, I do the best I kin-do, and when my shirt and pants don’t meet, I make a little skin-do!

  52. Taylan -  November 27, 2013 - 8:48 pm

    Turkey is called Hindi in Turkish which is literally used short for India.The writer of the article is right about his statement of why we call turkey as Hindi.Just to let you know Mrs Hale.Across Arabia, they call bird “diiq Hindi,” or the “Indian rooster.”
    In Russia, it’s “Indjushka,” bird of India.
    In Poland, “Inyczka”— again “bird from India.In Turkey, “Hindi” again short for India.

  53. Taylan -  November 27, 2013 - 8:37 pm

    Turkey is called Hindi in Turkish which is literally used short for India.The writer of the article is right about his statement of why we call turkey as Hindi.Just to let you know Mrs Hale.

  54. Joy -  November 27, 2013 - 7:37 pm

    LOL that is so funny. Some mistakes actually turn out well, then.

  55. Tanish -  November 27, 2013 - 6:45 pm

    I think I did’t understand the story

  56. Tony Bruguier -  November 27, 2013 - 3:46 pm

    Well, in French it’s called “dinde”, from “d’Inde” which translates to “From India”.

  57. Harish -  November 27, 2013 - 5:30 am

    U are right Hale.. Hindi doesn’t mean Indian.But might not mean HINDU either.Indian is Bharatiya or Hindustani.

  58. taleh -  November 26, 2013 - 10:00 pm

    Hi, I am also Turk (Azerbaijani), and we called turkey as “hindushka”. It derives from the words “hind” – “Indian” and “gush” – “fowl”. “ka”- comes from Russian and plays a role to condense the word. So “hindushka” means “Indian fowl”.

  59. anonymous -  November 26, 2013 - 4:32 pm

    Actually, not to contradict you, hale, but Hindi is a word for Indian, correct, and Hindu is the nationality. I know my wording is difficult, but thanks to those people who just understood! And no offense to anyone who took any.

  60. hale -  November 26, 2013 - 3:16 pm

    Hi there, I am a Turk myself, and I found the article quite funny. A correction from me. The translation of turkey is hindi, but it doesn’t mean Indian. Indian is HINDU in Turkish.

    • m.ert -  May 8, 2014 - 11:48 pm

      A correction from another Turkish: “HINDU, HINDI, HINT, HINTLI” all words for Indian. Hindi were especially used in Ottoman times in fact.

  61. Andrew G. Scott -  November 26, 2013 - 2:32 pm

    I agree this is very confusing.

  62. David -  November 26, 2013 - 11:46 am

    This article should be taken down. It is stating as fact what is, in reality, complete conjecture. Even Wikipedia isn’t this bad.

  63. Frédéric -  November 26, 2013 - 3:45 am

    I forgot to say that in french turkey is dinde. “d’Inde” means from India, so it’s similar to turkish :-)

  64. Frédéric -  November 26, 2013 - 3:40 am

    Yes the Guinea fowl (pintade in french) is broadly raised as food in France !
    One can find it in any farm as well as goose and turkeys and it’s traditionally eaten for Christmas.

    Thanks for this interesting article :-)

  65. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 25, 2013 - 10:47 pm

    Guinea fowl were imported through Turkey, and thus were called “turkey fowl.” American turkeys were also imported through Turkey. Since Guinea fowl and turkeys look similar, they were thought to be the same bird, and both were called “turkey fowl” (because they both were imported through Turkey). The name was eventually shortened to just plain “turkey.” Now Guinea fowl are less common, so American turkeys are the ones that are eaten for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  66. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 25, 2013 - 10:42 pm

    1) I agree. I’ve heard of Guinea fowl before.
    2) Does PB stand for Peanut Butter? I like peanut butter. :P

    • :) -  December 1, 2015 - 2:17 pm

      I like peanut butter too :)

      • icequeenxoxo -  December 2, 2015 - 11:41 am

        lol no it stands for pancake butter 8)

  67. Ella -  November 25, 2013 - 10:22 pm

    I didn’t know this,and it’s quite funny actully,because my little sister is often called turkey!

  68. Australian Young Commenter NDC -  November 25, 2013 - 10:16 pm

    That is very interesting, although I never wandered how the turkey got it’s, that is interesting.

  69. CK -  November 25, 2013 - 3:31 pm

    Just letting you know that Shwarma is not Turkish word or food, it’s Arabic. The Turkish word is “cevirme”. Should probably clear that up since the purpose of this article is also about about a mistake.


  70. Punny -  November 25, 2013 - 2:57 pm

    This whole article is FOWL.

  71. Asim -  November 25, 2013 - 2:26 pm


    Your correction is, well, incorrect. Hindi means Indian in Turkish (and many other languages).

  72. GooglegNGER -  November 25, 2013 - 2:14 pm

    I’ve heard of guinea fowl and I am only 13.

  73. Michael -  November 25, 2013 - 11:50 am

    Yes, this is still very confusing. You’re article reads as if the country Turkey was named after the bird. It took me a second read through to realize your saying it’s the other way around, which makes a whole lot more sense. I was going to say, “then who are the Turks?”

  74. KT -  November 25, 2013 - 9:37 am

    It may also be of interest to note, in this context, that there is a second country with a name connected to turkey: Peru. This is because the word for turkey in the Portuguese language is peru.

  75. PB -  November 25, 2013 - 8:17 am

    “perhaps explaining why you probably have never heard of guinea fowl until right now”

    A little presumptuous are we? You’d think your readers who are browsing dictionary.com are a bit more intelligent than the random reader, wouldn’t you? At least give us the benefit of the doubt. Guinea fowl are actually domesticated in many places including France, the West Indies, India, the US and even the UK. So next time, before you make an assumption about the intelligence of your readers, perhaps you should do some research and determine how many of your readers have not heard of the not so rare Guinea fowl.

  76. Sanjana -  November 25, 2013 - 8:14 am

    Just as correction….Hindi doesn’t mean Indian. Hindi is India’s national language. “Hindustani” means “Indian”.

    I am a Hindustani.

  77. Ben Lampert -  November 25, 2013 - 7:32 am

    This bird is also called “India” in Hebrew. Is there any truth to the fact that the bird is called “Ethiopia” in Arabic? If so, Why?

  78. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 25, 2013 - 5:45 am

    Please put all the comments on 1 page. I can’t stand this new format! :~P (disgusted face)

  79. Edgar Silveira -  November 25, 2013 - 5:12 am

    Curiously, the name of this bird in Portuguese is the same name of a South American Country. Peru.

  80. Hermann -  November 25, 2013 - 1:20 am

    Coming from Argentina and while visiting my American friends, I always asked for a clarification on turkey, i.e. the bird served as food, vs Turkey, the country, when discussing food. My friends would very kindly explain to me that they referred to the meat from turkeys “as the country Turkey”, but without a capital letter. However, I still wondered what relation there could be, if any, between Turkey and turkey.
    I am sorry to say that your article does not read well, which is a pitty when it attempts to provide a possible explanation or etymology for the two terms. I still remain wondering about their relation.

    • sutekin -  May 10, 2015 - 1:52 pm

      Once upon a time Europe was surrounded by Turkish Empire. Nearly all land based trade routes between East and West was passing Turkish land. To identify something from East you describe it as Turkish product or from Turkey. Guinea Fowl was traded to Europe by land route and many people see it as a non domestical bird from east so for short it was called as Turkish Bird. When people from Anglo Saxon community found similard bird(turkey) they identified it as Turkish Bird because they were so similar.

  81. hello -  November 24, 2013 - 4:48 pm

    It’s still very confusing- so, turkeys were brought into turkey so turkey was named after turkeys, or was it the other turkeys that turkey got its name from or maybe turkey was alfready called turkey and the two turkeys were named after turkey

  82. Lolster -  November 24, 2013 - 4:37 pm

    Awesome. I always wondered.

  83. Gordie -  November 24, 2013 - 8:23 am

    the country wasn’t named after the bird it’s the opposite because they thought that a tukey looked liked a guinea fowl (which they also called a turkey fowl or a turkey for short because that’s where they were most commonly eaten) so they called it the same thing

  84. Gordie -  November 24, 2013 - 8:19 am

    Oh yeah and i still don’t quite understand why
    this article didn’t really answer the question properly

  85. I've never seen a turkey before, but that looks scary! And we can eat that thing? It must be bigger than a badger! I'll just stick to a nice juicy thrush. Oh, got to go - time for battle training. Coming, Cinderheart! -  November 24, 2013 - 7:07 am

    From Cloverpaw of ThunderClan

    P.S. To PETA: Way, way overkill. Eating turkey isn’t murder. We warriors eat mice, voles, squirrels, birds, and other prey every day, but we take only what we need to survive.

    Cloverpaw + Stormpaw

  86. I've never seen a turkey before, but that picture looks scary! And you're telling me we can eat that thing? It must be bigger than a badger! I think I'll just stick to a nice juicy thrush. Oops, got to go - time for battle training. Coming, Cinderhear -  November 24, 2013 - 7:04 am

    From Cloverpaw of ThunderClan

    P.S. To PETA: Way, way overkill. Eating turkey is not murder. We warriors eat mice, voles, squirrels, birds, and other prey every day, but we take only what we need to survive.

    Cloverpaw + Stormpaw

    • danny -  November 28, 2014 - 11:21 am


  87. I've never seen a turkey before, but that picture looks scary! And you're telling me we can eat that thing? It's got to be bigger than a badger! I think I'll just stick to a nice juicy thrush. Oops, got to go - time for battle training. Coming, Cinderhear -  November 24, 2013 - 7:01 am

    From Cloverpaw of ThunderClan

    P.S. To PETA: Way, way overkill. Eating turkey is not murder. We warriors eat mice, voles, squirrels, birds, and other prey every day, but we take only what we need to survive.

    Cloverpaw + Stormpaw

  88. Sorry, part of my message got cut off. I meant to say, "I think I'll just stick to a nice juicy thrush." Oops, got to go - time for battle training. Coming, Cinderheart! -  November 24, 2013 - 6:58 am

    From Cloverpaw of ThunderClan

    Cloverpaw + Stormpaw

  89. Hi, my name is Cloverpaw, and I'm a ThunderClan apprentice. I've never seen a turkey before, but that picture looks scary! What a weird-looking head! And you're telling me we can eat that thing? It's got to be bigger than a badger! I think I'll just stick -  November 24, 2013 - 6:54 am

    From Cloverpaw of ThunderClan
    P.S. To PETA: Way, way overkill. Eating a turkey is not murder. We warriors eat mice, voles, squirrels, birds, and other prey every day, but only to survive. We take no more than we need.

    • Alley Oop -  November 28, 2014 - 3:26 pm

      Why did you post this comment multiple times? Once was really more than enough.

  90. Isabel -  November 24, 2013 - 6:51 am

    Okay, but now why is turkey called “Peru” in Portuguese?

    • Vishnu -  November 25, 2015 - 9:38 am

      Do you have any problem with it?????

  91. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 24, 2013 - 2:33 am

    I agree.

    Turkey is yummy!

  92. Cloverpaw -  November 24, 2013 - 2:32 am

    Hi, I’m Cloverpaw and I’m a ThunderClan apprentice. I’ve never seen a turkey before, but that picture looks pretty scary! And you’re telling me we can eat that thing? It’s got to be bigger than a badger! And it’s got enough feathers to line the whole Clan’s nests! I think I’ll just stick to a nice juicy thrush. What’s that? Oh, time for battle training. :) Coming, Cinderheart!

  93. LifeCritic -  October 22, 2013 - 8:02 am

    Wow people! Really?! It is just a little fun facts thing. It isn’t all that hard to understand either, and so many of you are taking this way too seriously. Geez! Maybe it isn’t true. Maybe it is. Maybe it is partly true. That is why you should get your info from more than one source. For those of you who said it was boring because it was about birds, DUH! It wasn’t, it was about the origins of a word. The article didn’t say that the country’s, Turkey’s, name came from the name of the bird, nor did it say that the natives of Turkey call their country Turkey. What it said was that before our big ugly bird began to be imported (to Europe it is implied), a bird called a guinea fowl was imported (to Europe) through the country, people other than their own natives, called Turkey. Thus, the merchants from there were called (by people from outside of Turkey) Turkey merchants. So, the guenia fowl began to be called Turkey fowl. Then, when America’s ugly bird began to be imported (to Europe implied) through Turkey, people saw that America’s ugly bird and the guenia fowl looked similar. So, it was thought they were the same bird. Therefore, America’s big ugly bird was also called a Turkey fowl. Eventually, it was shortened to the word turkey.

    Oh, and to the person who commented as PETA! Get a life! Seriously!? The Declaration of Independence applied to animals!? No. I don’t believe in cruelty to animals, and you are right that most places that breed animals for food treat the animals horribly, but I also don’t believe that the animals shouldn’t be used as food. As with most things in life, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

  94. stop it please! -  October 13, 2013 - 10:29 am

    I don’t believe this. The country name is turkie!!! because the people are called turk!!! I don’t think it is related to any sort of animals. Americans usually change the whole word for their own sake. like many other middle eastern countries.

  95. nope...still confused -  October 1, 2013 - 10:54 pm

    I didn’t read the original, but I am definitely confused here. So the birds were named first, and then the country was named after the birds because they traveled through there? You don’t even say when the country first started being called Turkey, or where the birds got their name from. And where are your sources?

  96. that turkish girl -  August 6, 2013 - 1:23 pm

    This is just not true. In Turkish language we call our country as “Türkiye” which means the land of Turks(Türk). In Turkish we call some of the countries like “İtalya”(Italy) or “İspanya”(Spain) or “Japonya”(Japan). As you see, we use -ye/-ya suffixes just after the name of the race. “Türkiye” is just the same. Türk is the name of our race, and Türkiye is Türk-iye or something. In English, I mean, Italy is “Italia”(in Italian) actually but they say Italy in English. They say Turkey instead of Türkiye in a similar way. There is nothing to do with the bird Turkey. Also we don’t call Indians as “hindi”, hindi is just the bird. We call them “Hintli”(for the ones from India), which is a different word from “hindi”(the bird) when you pronounce it.

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  101. Jonathan Lewis -  July 10, 2013 - 4:51 am

    Thanks, this article cleared up one point for me – As an English teacher I have often pointed out to my (French-speaking) students that turkey the bird was mistakenly named after the country. I also explain that the French word for turkey – dinde – is a contraction of ‘poulet d’Inde’ (“Indian Chicken”), which also is not correct. Now I can see the connection – thank you!

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  103. Mike Logan -  November 21, 2012 - 3:00 am

    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?

  104. Maria -  November 20, 2012 - 6:56 am

    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”.

  105. Calkoen -  November 19, 2012 - 9:13 am

    The French call a Turkey a “dinde”, like the Turkish. Interestingly, the Dutch name them “Kalkoen”, referring to Calcutta in India.

  106. Turk -  November 19, 2012 - 8:20 am

    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?

  107. Karlos -  November 19, 2012 - 7:22 am

    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!

  108. moiluvfacebook -  November 19, 2012 - 6:51 am


    • Anonymous -  November 29, 2014 - 11:12 am

      Hate to sound rude, but this article is NOT about birds, but actually about the origin of one specific birds, which seems to have triggered one big viral argument. Sheesh!

  109. Banana Man -  November 19, 2012 - 6:34 am

    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.


  110. Mike -  November 19, 2012 - 6:16 am

    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.”

  111. DingoJack -  November 19, 2012 - 6:03 am

    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….? :).

    • Anonymous -  November 29, 2014 - 11:15 am


  112. jay -  November 19, 2012 - 5:49 am

    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?

  113. Hime-sama -  November 19, 2012 - 5:45 am

    I stopped reading at shwarma and proceeded to fangirl over the Avengers. Priorities.

  114. talking turkey -  November 19, 2012 - 4:41 am

    Really. What makes you more tired? This article or the L-trytophan?

  115. Highlander -  November 19, 2012 - 4:31 am

    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….

    • HELEN, The State -  November 27, 2014 - 8:42 pm

      The population that Benjamin Franklin was part of was a victim of covert attack over time. The eating of TURKEYS was an embarrassment: The “Turkey” that Mr. Franklin was eating was actually a Poultry-Turkey requiring full genetic restoration: those Poultry-Turkeys were not genetically examples of TURKEYS, but there was an Entitlement of those Poultry-Turkeys to a full restoration.. To eat a Poultry-Turkey (a “poor Turkey” in a sympathetic sense of poor) was Treasonous. Benjamin Franklin was not fully cognizant about the plight of TURKEYS.

      There was abhuction of the Poultry-Turkeys from north America to other areas. The abhuctions were exacerbating the plight of the TURKEYS. The Poultry-Turkeys were similar to the gulluck (“pot luck”) that was eaten in various countries (by other names) but was not available to eat any more. The gulluck was from illegal changes to the genetics of a TRUIST population. When there was information that there was removal of the “gulluck” because those populations were actually Poultry anc eating Poultry was Treasonous, there was an attempt to shift the blame to Benjamin Franklin for promoting the Poultry-Turkeys as an item to eat. The POPE in the Vatican was assisting the Poultry-Turkeys anc so were a few sympathetic governments, inclusive of IN$IA. There was a clearing of Benjamin Franklin from the charge of promoting Poultry-Turkeys as an item-to-eat in other markets: the “promotion” was internal to the Country were Mr. Franklin was living anc there was not any intention of moving any of the Poultry-Turkey populations to the south (for example, to South America) or to overseas. In the trial, there was an explanation that Mr. Franklin was not fully cognizant of the plight of Poultry-Turkeys in the past; there were new efforts to assist the Poultry-Turkeys in north America (initially locally to Mr. Franklin).

      Rather than focus the blame on the assassins that were attacking TURKEYS for a long extent of time historically, there was a blaming of Mr. Franklin for a response that was not strong-enough in helping the Poultry-Turkeys in a timely manner……………

      This explanation is not as evasive as the explanation of Prof. Sinasi Tekin. The reply is not a response in a test.

    • K220 -  November 29, 2015 - 12:50 am

      Hey that’s really good…thanks.

  116. Ralf -  November 19, 2012 - 4:15 am

    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…

  117. Bob -  November 19, 2012 - 3:26 am

    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). ;)

  118. Nerd -  November 19, 2012 - 12:43 am

    Really BOR ——- ING

  119. Kunal -  November 19, 2012 - 12:39 am

    Hindi does not mean Indian. Hindi is a language, Hinduism is a religion and people following Hinduism are called Hindus

  120. deep throat -  November 18, 2012 - 10:56 pm

    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.

  121. deep throat -  November 18, 2012 - 10:13 pm

    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 ).

    • danny -  November 28, 2014 - 11:20 am


  122. EnglishmaninNY -  November 18, 2012 - 9:06 pm

    Turkey mechants = Turkish merchants right?

  123. PETA -  November 18, 2012 - 9:05 pm

    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.

    • Surprised and Amused -  November 29, 2014 - 11:29 am

      Um… you’re serious??? You actually mean that? Wow. I’m an animal rights activist, of course, but I highly doubt that when our founding fathers were writing the Declaration of Independence, turkeys were on their minds. As for the metaphor about the sunlight being brought upon us and excluding turkeys alone, I doubt that the murder of turkeys is what this article was originally about. I hope that you do not take offense to this, but being a devout Christian myself, I am quite certain that if i is beneficial to our wellbeing, the good Lord does not mind if the human race occaisionally consumes animals. Take comfort in knowing that not all humans are bloodthirsty, turkey-hacking madmen willing to end the turkey population in a single chop of an axe. I also believe that there are far greater sins and shames of man than the consumption of birds. However, I thank you for your love of animals (hopefully not only turkeys) and please know that I visit your website and contribute frequently.

  124. anon -  November 18, 2012 - 8:37 pm

    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?

  125. James Bond -  November 18, 2012 - 7:32 pm


  126. someone in the damn world -  November 18, 2012 - 7:26 pm

    i am someone

    • salah -  November 26, 2014 - 6:59 am

      you should never not care about yourself

  127. hey -  November 18, 2012 - 3:11 pm

    that is one freaky turkey head

  128. hey -  November 18, 2012 - 3:10 pm

    i don’t get it

  129. Farooq M. Hashmi -  November 18, 2012 - 2:25 pm

    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.

  130. burak -  November 18, 2012 - 2:23 pm

    And about “Elizabeth”.. It’s just funny.. A comedian used that word just once in a movie. It’s not in common usage..

  131. burak -  November 18, 2012 - 2:20 pm

    Lets finish the discussion. Say “Turkey” to the animal, and say “Turkiye” (as “Turchia”) the country. Time to put new words to the litterateur.

  132. Frankie -  November 18, 2012 - 2:09 pm

    The comments confuse me more than the explanation

  133. Mr.OctalolapBLARG -  November 18, 2012 - 2:06 pm

    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”.

  134. The kitty cat girl -  November 18, 2012 - 1:06 pm

    ….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.

    • Alley Oop -  November 28, 2014 - 3:21 pm

      @The kitty cat girl, you didn’t have to judge someone intelligence if they didn’t understand the article. That wasn’t nice. I know you were raised better than that.

    • Surprised and Amused -  November 29, 2014 - 11:54 am

      Whoa, whoa, whoa. I love that you’re confident and all, but we are not idiots, like you seem to be implying. Any normal person can be understandably confused by the intricate history of the term, and we really don’t need your verion of the article. Thanks for your know-it-all advice, kitty cat girl. Oh, and one more thing? Only the man who assumes others are unintelligent is the truly unintelligent one. >:-(

  135. Todd -  November 18, 2012 - 12:37 pm

    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.

  136. Tyler Smith -  November 18, 2012 - 11:22 am

    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?

    • Alley Oop -  November 28, 2014 - 3:17 pm

      @Tyler Smith, I think the question you should have asked is why did you bother to comment on the article?

  137. Tyler Smith -  November 18, 2012 - 11:21 am


  138. swdefrgthy -  November 18, 2012 - 11:20 am


  139. Codie -  November 18, 2012 - 11:09 am

    Very interesting. I never knew how it got it’s name. So then how is the term Turkey in Bowling explained?

  140. Doug -  November 18, 2012 - 11:05 am

    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.

  141. bobo -  November 18, 2012 - 9:48 am

    “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…

  142. Michele Anderson -  November 18, 2012 - 9:18 am

    Got that right bro

  143. Micheal Anderson -  November 18, 2012 - 9:17 am

    So many words just say the answer and GO!!!

  144. Zeze -  November 18, 2012 - 9:07 am

    And hot word, nobody really likes this article.

  145. Zeze -  November 18, 2012 - 9:04 am

    This makes no sense. They never explained why they share the same name.

  146. G -  November 18, 2012 - 6:45 am

    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.

  147. uzma -  November 18, 2012 - 6:18 am

    cool very interesting

  148. fizzy -  November 18, 2012 - 4:21 am

    btw all of this information is incorrect

  149. VP -  November 18, 2012 - 2:48 am

    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..

  150. Safiyah -  November 17, 2012 - 11:46 pm

    I’ve actually always wondered that!!

  151. Andrew -  November 17, 2012 - 10:22 pm

    I need a summary.. That was somewhat hard to follow.

  152. leon zhang -  November 17, 2012 - 4:21 pm

    what does this have to do?????????????????????

  153. Liz -  November 17, 2012 - 3:25 pm

    turkey is yummy

    • Alley Oop -  November 28, 2014 - 3:19 pm

      @Liz, I totally agree with you.

  154. Voldemorta -  November 17, 2012 - 3:02 pm

    so….. I love “elizabet”. AND YOUR POINT IS?

  155. Duduygu -  November 17, 2012 - 2:07 pm

    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!

  156. SCOTT -  November 17, 2012 - 1:57 pm

    Why no Turkey in China?

  157. Mikael -  November 17, 2012 - 12:57 pm

    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.

  158. ulas -  October 21, 2012 - 7:15 am

    “elizabet” means nothing in türk language, but an english name

  159. hosein -  October 8, 2012 - 8:04 pm

    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!

  160. Olivia -  October 8, 2012 - 3:08 pm

    hahaha they were right; had never b4 heard of the guinea fowl!!!!!

  161. Voldemort -  September 18, 2012 - 6:22 am

    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.

  162. Rox -  June 22, 2012 - 7:43 am

    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,[13] 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;[14] 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).

  163. Mackenzie -  April 11, 2012 - 12:35 pm

    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.

    • Surprised and Amused -  November 30, 2014 - 9:47 am

      Thanks for that corny translation to the corny joke. :-{D

  164. Barrett -  February 24, 2012 - 2:59 pm

    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.

  165. Cold Turkey « CollTales -  November 24, 2011 - 3:00 am

    [...] 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 [...]

  166. steph -  October 19, 2011 - 5:41 am

    However it was named…it tastes great!!

  167. another screen name? -  October 11, 2011 - 4:58 pm

    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.

  168. Sam McFisher -  October 11, 2011 - 12:26 am

    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.

  169. Sparkerbros22 -  October 10, 2011 - 4:30 pm

    Can you explain again WHY turkeys aren’t called the guinea fowl?

  170. anonymous -  January 28, 2011 - 9:00 am

    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.

  171. Sir David -  January 20, 2011 - 2:41 am

    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.

  172. Meaghetti and Spatballs -  January 15, 2011 - 7:04 pm

    I have no problem understanding this article. It makes perfect sense to me.

  173. superf -  January 6, 2011 - 6:52 am


  174. lingUist geeK-sage(RP) -  December 7, 2010 - 12:41 pm

    Thanks for the fascinating fact it just that the last paragraph seems your crying over spill milk..Hush Hush..

  175. louis paiz -  November 30, 2010 - 5:11 am

    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

  176. a'deal -  November 29, 2010 - 9:50 am

    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.

  177. Mr. D -  November 29, 2010 - 7:43 am

    Personally i prefer ham, so TO HELL WITH THIS ARTICLE!

  178. Aria -  November 29, 2010 - 5:45 am

    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)

  179. Jocantha Telsey -  November 28, 2010 - 7:45 pm

    i’m still REALLY confused! oh well. hope veryone had a good thanksgiving and black friday.

  180. Parrot -  November 28, 2010 - 6:16 pm

    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.


  181. runrun -  November 28, 2010 - 5:49 am

    going back lazy~

  182. LUNANOIR -  November 28, 2010 - 2:20 am

    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.

  183. Aleksei -  November 27, 2010 - 1:38 pm

    “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.

  184. Betty -  November 27, 2010 - 10:12 am

    I love trivia and scrabble….always looking 4 unusual words..so gleaned a few.

  185. Hector Olivera -  November 27, 2010 - 7:37 am

    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?

  186. Roberto -  November 26, 2010 - 11:01 am

    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.

  187. pmichael -  November 26, 2010 - 10:00 am

    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.

  188. shapewear -  November 26, 2010 - 9:57 am

    I always wondered what was the relation between the Thanksgiving bird and the country of Turkey so now I know what it is now..

  189. dearjohn -  November 26, 2010 - 9:52 am

    does anyone here loves two and a half men? ^_^

    • Alley Oop -  November 28, 2014 - 3:34 pm

      @Dear John, not since Charlie Sheen left.

    • Alley Oop -  November 28, 2014 - 3:35 pm

      @ Dear John, not since Charlie Sheen left.

  190. Alper -  November 26, 2010 - 9:22 am

    I think this article is not clear enough to demonstrate how English people got confused about the word in the given time period.

  191. dearjohn -  November 26, 2010 - 9:10 am

    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.. ^_^

  192. Tatu -  November 26, 2010 - 9:09 am

    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?

  193. Al A. Britto -  November 26, 2010 - 9:08 am

    Funny enough, the very same bird holds, in Portuguese, the name of a quite different country: Peru.

  194. dearjohn -  November 26, 2010 - 9:07 am

    haha great!

  195. Mike -  November 26, 2010 - 9:02 am

    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.

  196. idriz ajeti -  November 26, 2010 - 8:44 am

    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.

  197. mourakue -  November 26, 2010 - 8:36 am

    ahhh!!!!!!!!!!! to many turkies in one tiny story!!! brain failing!!!!!

  198. Emily -  November 26, 2010 - 8:22 am

    Uh, yeah is says nothing about turkey and turkey

  199. Mark -  November 26, 2010 - 8:05 am

    In Mexico it’s called PAVO or GUAJOLOTE (nahuatl?). Now explain that.

  200. Boyo -  November 26, 2010 - 7:52 am

    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… ;-)

  201. Charles -  November 26, 2010 - 7:36 am

    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.

  202. Rich Durst -  November 26, 2010 - 7:13 am

    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.

  203. TURKEY | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  November 26, 2010 - 7:10 am

    [...] can you say about TURKEY that hasn’t been said before. — Ben Franklin wanted the National Bird to be the Wild [...]

  204. L.T. -  November 26, 2010 - 7:09 am

    Gobble — Gobble.

  205. Hayyim Feldman -  November 26, 2010 - 6:52 am

    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?

  206. mat -  November 26, 2010 - 6:25 am

    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.

  207. Tas -  November 26, 2010 - 6:20 am

    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…

  208. Milo -  November 26, 2010 - 6:09 am

    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!”

  209. Raina bo baina -  November 26, 2010 - 5:35 am

    I always wondered why the country Turkey was named as such, very informative as always Dictionary.com! :D

  210. Michael G -  November 26, 2010 - 5:26 am

    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?

  211. Michael G -  November 26, 2010 - 5:24 am

    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?

  212. Erhan -  November 26, 2010 - 4:55 am

    I don’t think so that happened like that. İt is not enough information for me.

  213. single and ready to mingle -  November 26, 2010 - 4:38 am

    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.
    xxx ;)

  214. gertrude flangee -  November 26, 2010 - 4:32 am

    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

  215. Janae -  November 26, 2010 - 4:28 am

    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.

  216. Ben -  November 26, 2010 - 4:22 am

    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…

  217. Omnichron -  November 26, 2010 - 4:20 am

    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.

  218. Maciek -  November 26, 2010 - 3:57 am

    BTW: (guinea fowl) is called ‘perliczka’ and its probably because of its feathers, which look like covered with small pearls (Polish perla means pearl)

  219. Maciek -  November 26, 2010 - 3:56 am

    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!

  220. AriesSpirit -  November 26, 2010 - 3:49 am

    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.

  221. Chris -  November 26, 2010 - 3:42 am

    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,[15] 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;[16] 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).[16]



  222. crystal -  November 26, 2010 - 3:32 am

    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’.

  223. mohamed -  November 26, 2010 - 2:19 am

    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?

  224. minge -  November 26, 2010 - 2:00 am

    i dont care.

  225. Cyberquill -  November 26, 2010 - 12:58 am

    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.

  226. henryhiggins -  November 26, 2010 - 12:24 am

    This doesnt explain at all how they both came to have the same name. I am still confused about which was called Turkey first.

  227. Ben -  November 26, 2010 - 12:04 am

    Please don’t eat your Thanksgiving Day turkey like these posts…overdone

  228. hilde -  November 25, 2010 - 11:35 pm

    In Greek a turkey is called “gallopoula”, French bird, after the guttural yelp it produces.

  229. Anna -  November 25, 2010 - 11:02 pm

    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.

  230. Mekishiko NoNeko -  November 25, 2010 - 10:46 pm

    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“.


  231. Oleg -  November 25, 2010 - 9:28 pm

    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).

  232. MOHAMMED ALHUSSEINY -  November 25, 2010 - 8:47 pm

    I always wondered what was the relation between the Thanksgiving bird and the country of Turkey so now I know what it is now.

  233. Gautam -  November 25, 2010 - 8:39 pm

    Very interesting to know how mistakes led to discoveries of new countries naming of old ones.

  234. Michael David -  November 25, 2010 - 7:57 pm

    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.

  235. Allan -  November 25, 2010 - 6:35 pm

    It consider my life greatly enriched by finally answering a question that has haunted me since I was 7

  236. Thiago -  November 25, 2010 - 6:07 pm

    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? :D

  237. Dave -  November 25, 2010 - 5:44 pm

    Very interesting. Thanks!

  238. shutthe@#$%up -  November 25, 2010 - 5:24 pm

    how come no one be commentin meh post?

  239. your mom -  November 25, 2010 - 5:10 pm

    hey guys i have a pet turkey and i called it joe. he is quite a troublemaker

  240. jb - fan -  November 25, 2010 - 4:43 pm

    Lol, i highlighted every word that said Turkey in my history book. Happy Thxgivin!!

  241. Michael Dadona -  November 25, 2010 - 4:38 pm

    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.

  242. Valdir -  November 25, 2010 - 4:14 pm

    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.

  243. vegitarian -  November 25, 2010 - 3:10 pm

    a turkey from the america, a guinea fowl from Madagascar, India and the New World, take something for something else.

  244. David E. -  November 25, 2010 - 2:45 pm

    The former center of the Ottoman Empire…

    The former center is known as Anatolia. Turkey is the modern name for the country.

  245. Gabby -  November 25, 2010 - 2:44 pm

    Well… That explains a lot!

  246. Nazifa -  November 25, 2010 - 2:34 pm

    I don’t understand.

  247. Natasha -  November 25, 2010 - 1:31 pm

    But Turkey was only Turkey until after WW1 ?

  248. Bush Basher -  November 25, 2010 - 1:28 pm

    I meant to say that the bird is always named after a country.

  249. Bush Basher -  November 25, 2010 - 1:27 pm

    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.

  250. jimbo -  November 25, 2010 - 12:56 pm

    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?

  251. mike -  November 25, 2010 - 12:49 pm

    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.

  252. Banu-Un-Nadir -  November 25, 2010 - 12:36 pm

    But, Turkish people always finish the packet. You didn’t finish the packet?

  253. fatmanur şahin -  November 25, 2010 - 12:06 pm

    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

  254. AriesWarlock -  November 25, 2010 - 12:03 pm

    “Then, the Spanish brought turkeys back from the Americas…”

    Isn’t it Spaniards?

  255. abby loves isaac -  November 25, 2010 - 11:48 am

    BOH-RING! Let’s talk about gossip girl

    • salah -  November 26, 2014 - 7:01 am


  256. Surprised and Amused -  November 30, 2014 - 9:45 am

    Sorry about the double message. My computer glitched and didn’t show me the first one.


  257. Jerome -  December 16, 2015 - 3:47 am

    There was a scholarly article written in the 1990s ( I am sorry I do not remember which reputable institution it was from but with some research you can find it). There were Turkish sailors, probably pirates who visited and settled along the east coast in the early 1500s (I believe it was in the Carolinas). They had a predilection for eating this bird and so other nearby colonists gave the name ‘Türkiye” to the bird. There is literary evidence for this etymology.


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