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List of names for turkeys

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The common names for Meleagris gallopavo (the wild turkey of North America, but best known worldwide from the domesticated turkey), in other languages also frequently reflect its exotic origins, seen from a European viewpoint, and confusion about where it actually comes from. See Turkey (bird) for the etymology of the English name and the scientific name Meleagris.

From geographic names[edit]

Confusion with guineafowl[edit]


  • In Irish, it is turcaí, an English borrowing.
  • In Welsh, it is called twrci, borrowed from the English word.

West Indies[edit]

At the time of first introduction to Europe, The continent of America and nearby islands were normally referred to as 'the Indies' or 'the Western Indies'.

  • In Armenian, it is called hndkahav or hntkahav (Հնդկահավ), literally meaning "Indian chicken".
  • In Azerbaijani, it is called hindushka (hinduşka) or hindtoyughu (hind toyuğu), that means "Indian chicken".
  • In Breton, it is called yar-Indez, "Indian chicken".
  • In Catalan, it is called gall dindi, literally meaning "Indian rooster".
  • In French, it is called (la) dinde, which comes from (poulet) d’Inde or "(chicken) from India".
  • In Friulian, it is called dindi, from the expression meaning "(rooster) of India".
  • In Georgian, it is called ინდაური (indauri), from ინდოელი (indoeri) - India.
  • In Hebrew, the turkey is called tarnegol hodu (תרנגול הודו), literally meaning "rooster of India".
  • In Italian it is known as pollo d'India, with clear reference to India, although the most common name is tacchino, an onomatopoeia for the sound a turkey makes.
  • In Maltese, it is called dundjan, derived from Indja, the word for India in that language.
  • In Polish and Ukrainian, it is indyk, a reference to India. Similarly it is indik (אינדיק) in Yiddish, also referring to India.
  • In Russian, it is called indeyka (индейка) or indyushka (индюшка), relating to India.
  • In Turkish, the bird is called hindi which means "from & related to India"



  • In Khmer, the turkey is called moan barang (មាន់បារាំង), which translates as "French chicken". (The term "French" is frequently used in Cambodia to refer to things and people of Western origin, as historically Cambodia's primary contact with the West was via French colonization.)
  • All modern Goidelic languages refer to turkeys as French chicken or cockerel:
    • Scottish Gaelic: cearc-Fhrangach "French chicken"
    • Irish: cearc fhrancach "French chicken"
    • Manx: kellagh frangagh "French cockerel".


  • In Croatian and in Slovene it is called puran, derived from the Italian peruano, meaning "Peruvian."
  • In Hawaiian, it is called pelehu, from the Portuguese. The Hawaiian nobleman Boki acquired turkeys during the South American leg of his world tour and introduced both the bird and the Hawaiian transliteration of the Portuguese term peru to Hawai'i and later, in 1827, to Rotuma.
  • In Hindi, it is called Peru (पीरू), a borrowing from Portuguese.
  • In Urdu, it is known as "Peroo" (پیرو), a borrowing from Portuguese.
  • In Malay, it is called ayam piru from the Portuguese name for the bird.
  • In Portuguese the word for turkey is peru, which also refers to the South American country Peru, but once referred to much of the Spanish-controlled Americas, including Mexico, where turkeys come from.
  • In Rotuman, it is called perehu, from the Portuguese via Hawaiian pelehu. The Hawaiian nobleman Boki acquired turkeys during the South American leg of his world tour. He introduced both the bird and the Hawaiian transliteration of the Portuguese term peru to Hawai'i and later, in 1827, to Rotuma.

Other places[edit]

  • In Arabic, it is called dīk rūmī (ديك رومي) or dajāj rūmī (دجاج رومي) meaning "Roman/Greek/Byzantine rooster/chicken". The term derives from Rûm, a word which, while derived from the word "Rome", most commonly referred to the Greeks of the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire or certain parts of Anatolia.
    • In Levantine Arabic, it is commonly called dīk ħabaš ديك حبش, as in Rooster of Abyssinia/Ethiopia.
    • In Iraqi Arabic, it is either called dīč hindī, denoting an Indian origin, or ʕališīš, a Kurdish loanword.
    • In Tunisian Arabic, it is commonly called džæž l-hend, also alluding to India.
    • In Moroccan Arabic, it is more commonly called بيبي bibi.
    • In Egyptian Arabic, use of the term daǧāǧ is generally deprecated and dīk rūmī is used exclusively.
  • In Macedonian, it is Мисирка (misirka) (мисир misir which denotes a false Egyptian origin of the bird) or Фитка (fitka).
  • In Breton, one of its names is yar-Spagn, "Spanish chicken"
  • In Malay, it is known as "ayam Belanda", literally "Dutch chicken".
  • In Vietnamese, it is called gà tây, meaning "Western chicken"

From other origins[edit]

Seven-faced bird[edit]

  • In Japanese, the turkey is called shichimenchō (シチメンチョウ / 七面鳥), which literally means "seven-faced bird".
  • In Korean, the turkey is called chilmyeonjo (칠면조 / 七面鳥), which translates as "seven-faced bird". This is said to reflect the ability of the bird, particularly the male, to change the form of its face depending on its mood.

Elephant Bird[edit]

  • In Burmese, it is called ကြက်ဆင် krakhcang meaning "elephant bird"; ကြက် (krak, “fowl”) + ဆင် (hcang, “elephant”).
  • In Thai, it is called Kai Nguang (ไก่งวง), which means "(elephant) trunk chicken".
  • In Urdu, it is called feel murgh ( فیل مرغ ), meaning "elephant chicken".

Blue bird[edit]

The general source - Turkic languages, from where "blue bird" was borrowed to many languages of the Caucasian region:

  • In Nogai, it is called köküš, from kök (blue) and quš (bird).
  • In Abaza, it is гвагвыщ (gvagvyshch).
  • In Abkhazian, it is агуагушь (aguagush’).
  • In Adyg, it is гуэгуш (guegush).
  • In Karachai, it is гогуш (gogush).
  • In Ossetian, it is called гогыз (gogyz).

Names in indigenous languages of North America[edit]

In the indigenous languages of North America, a turkey is known by a variety of names, some being a variation on "big bird".

  • In Blackfoot, it is called ómahksipi'kssíí, meaning "big bird".
  • In Cherokee (Tsalagi) it is called Gv-na(guh-nuh).[1]
  • In Cree, it is called misihew (Plains Cree), mišihyew (East Cree), mišilew (Moose Cree), miširew (Atikamekw), etc... All are modern dialectal versions of the historical form, *mišihrew, meaning "large gallinaceous bird".
  • In Lakota, it is waglekšun.
  • In Miami, it is nalaaohki pileewa, meaning "native fowl".
  • In Nahuatl, it is huehxōlōtl, which is reflected in Mexican Spanish as Guajolote.
  • In Ojibwe, it is mizise (ᒥᓯᐦᓭ / ᒥᓯᓭ) (plural: miziseg).
  • In Passamaquoddy, it is nem.
  • In Hoocąk, it is Ziizíke.


  • In Albanian, it is called gjel deti meaning sea rooster (or pule deti meaning sea hen). It is also called biba (female turkey) and biban (male turkey).
  • In Mandarin Chinese, it is called huoji (火雞 / 火鸡) meaning "fire chicken" for the color of the head. Other names in Mandarin Chinese include qimianniao (七面鳥 / 七面鸟) meaning "seven-faced bird", tujinji (吐錦雞 / 吐锦鸡) meaning "cough up a brocade chicken" and tushouji (吐綬雞 / 吐绶鸡) meaning "cough up a ribbon chicken" due to their red wattles.
  • In Czech, it is called krocan which relates to the specific movement a turkey makes.
  • In Fijian, it is called taki (from English) or pipi, an enigmatic term shared with Samoan with undefined origin in either language.
  • In German, it is called Truthahn, derived from trut for the call used to lure the bird,[2] and Hahn, rooster.
  • In Greek, it is usually called γαλοπούλα (ghalopoula), a diminutive form of the term γάλος gálos "bird", derived from Italian gallo. Various local dialects use other forms, however: ινδιάνος or διάνος ((in)diános, "Indian bird"), μισίρκα (misírka, "Egyptian bird", from Turkish misir, Egypt), κούρκος (kúrkos) derived from local Slavic dialects, κούβος (kúvos) in Crete and κακνί (kakní) in Mytilene, both of uncertain etymology.
  • In Hungarian, it is called vadpulyka.
  • In Italian, it is called tacchino, an onomatopoeia for the sound a turkey makes with the diminutive suffix -ino.
  • In Kurdish (Sorani), it is called عليشيش، ʕališīš.
  • In Lazuri, it is called k'ok'uşi.
  • In Malayalam spoken in Calicut, it is called khalgam.
  • In Persian it is called booghalamoon (بوقلمون) which may be an onomatopoeia of the male bird's distinctive gobble.
  • In Romanian, the word for turkey is curcan (fem. curca from Bulgarian "курка" meaning chicken)
  • In Samoan, it is called pipi, an enigmatic term shared with Fijian with undefined origin in either language.
  • In Scots, it is called a bubbly Jock.
  • In Serbian, it is called ћурка (ćurka).
  • In Slovak, it is called morka
  • In Spanish, the turkey is called pavo, Latin for peafowl. In Mexican Spanish, it is also known as guajolote, a name of Nahuatl origin, from hueyxolotl meaning ‘big xolotl’; among other names used in specific regions are cócono, pípila, güíjolo, the later cognate with guajolote, used in Sinaloa and Southern Sonora. In Central American Spanish, it is also known as chompipe, chunto or chumpe. In Cuban Spanish it is known as guanajo. In some dialects of Colombian Spanish it is known as pisco, from Quechua pisqu "bird".
  • In Swahili, the turkey is called bata mzinga meaning "the great duck".
  • In Tagalog, the turkey is called pabo from the Spanish word pavo.
  • In Tamil, it is called Vaan Kozhi (வான் கோழி) meaning "Large Chicken".
  • In Telugu, it is called Ginni kodi punju/Seema Kodi/Maga Seema Kodi (గిన్ని కోడి /సీమ కోడి/మగ సీమ కోడి), meaning "Guineafowl"
  • In Yoruba, it is called Tòlótòló.


  1. Cherokee Nation Foundation Dictionary
  2. Duden, Band 7, Das Herkunftswörterbuch, 1963, ISBN 3-411-00907-1 Search this book on .

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