cold turkey

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jan 31 01:00:52 UTC 2002

At 9:02 PM -0600 1/30/02, Gerald Cohen wrote:
>At 6:13 AM -0600 1/30/02, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>...Related query:  whether or not we assume that the drug-withdrawal
>>sense is the earliest for "cold turkey", whence the metaphor?  Why a
>I've compiled material on  "cold turkey" in the article: "Material
>>From the Tamony Files On _Cold Turkey_", _Studies in Slang, IV,ed.:
>Gerald Leonard Cohen, Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag, 1995; pp.
>89-97.----On page 89 I quote from the _San Francisco Examiner_, May
>28, 19978,Sunday Punch, p.1, col. 1, Herb Caen's column:
>        "Meanwhile: Thanks to all the ex-junkies who've filled me in
>on the origin of the term 'cold turkey,' something I wondered about a
>few columns ago.
>It derives from the hideous combination of goosepimples and what Wm.
>Burroughs calls 'the cold burn' that addicts suffer as they kick the
>habit.  Hasn't a thing to do with what's still in the fridge four
>days after Thanksgiving."
>---Gerald Cohen

Interesting, although Herb Caen can't always be entirely trusted.
But it still doesn't really answer the question "why turkey?",
although it does provide a line on the "cold" part.  After all, a
turkey isn't a goose, let alone a goosepimple.


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