Origin of “To Talk Turkey”

The phrase To talk turkey came into usage about a century and a half ago. At that point in time it referred to a pleasant conversation, possibly due to the fact that a young man would get tongue tied when speaking with a pretty woman and would sound like gibberish. Over the years it has developed a sterner quality and a small parable or sorts may be to blame. The story went that a pilgrim and a Native American went hunting and brought down a bunch of game. The white man, thinking to outsmart his hunting partner, tried to manuever his hunting companion into giving him all the turkeys, but the brave’s only response was, “All the time you talk turkey, now I talk turkey to you.” At which point he divided things equally and went on his way.


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