List of names for turkeys
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 an European viewpoint, and confusion about where it actually comes from. See Turkey for the etymology of the English name and the scientific name Meleagris.
From geographic names
Confusion with guineafowl
- In Irish, it is turcaí, an English borrowing.
- In Welsh, it is called twrci, borrowed from the English word.
As a lot of trade took place through Indian traders, many parts of Europe associated the traders with the potential source of the bird.
- In Armenian, it is called hndkahav or hntkahav (Հնդկահավ), literally meaning “Indian chicken”.
- In Catalan, it is called gall d’indi, literally meaning “Indian chicken”.
- In French, it is called (la) dinde, which comes from (poulet) d’Inde or "(chicken) from 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, that apparently refers to the sound that turkey makes.
- In Maltese, it is called dundjan (pronounced doonDYAHN), another, maybe not so obvious, reference to India.
- 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), relating to India.
- In Turkish, the bird is called hindi which means “from & related to India,"
- The Dutch word is "kalkoen", derived from the city Calicut in India, likewise Danish, Estonian and Norwegian kalkun, Swedish kalkon, and Finnish kalkkuna, as well as in Papiamento kalakuna.
- In Indonesian, it is called kalkun and derived from Dutch word kalkoen.
- In Icelandic, it is villi kalkúnn.
- In Lithuanian, it is kalakutas.
- In Sinhala, it is called kalukuma, derived from Dutch word kalkoen.
- 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.)
- In Scottish Gaelic, it is called cearc frangach, meaning “French chicken”.
- 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 Galician and Portuguese, the word for turkey is peru, which also refers to the country Peru.
- 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.
- In Brazilian Portuguese, it's called peru.
- In Arabic, it is called dīk rūmī (ديك رومي) or daǧāǧ 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 Vietnamese, it is called gà tây, meaning “Western chicken”
- in Malaysia it's called 'Ayam Belanda' which means 'Dutch chicken'
From other origins
- 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.
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 the Americas
- In Blackfoot, it is called ómahksipi'kssíí, meaning “big bird”.
- In Cherokee (Tsalagi) it is called Gv-na(guh-nuh).
- 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 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 Bengali, titir pakhi (তিতির পাখি)
- In Bulgarian, it is Пуйка (puijka) but a dialect version is Мисирка (misirka), which comes from the Arabic word for Egypt.
- 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 divoký.
- 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, 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.
- In Malay, it is called either Ayam Piru from the Portuguese name for the bird or Ayam Belanda (Dutch chicken).
- 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)
- In Samoan, it is called pipi, an enigmatic term shared with Fijian with undefined origin in either language.
- In Serbian, it is called ћурка (ćurka).
- 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 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 “Sky Chicken”.
- In Telugu, it is called Ginni kodi punju/Seema Kodi/Maga Seema Kodi (గిన్ని కోడి /సీమ కోడి/మగ సీమ కోడి), meaning "Guineafowl"
- 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”.
- In Yoruba, it is called Tòlótòló.
- In Lazuri, it is called k'ok'uşi.