turkeys in the news

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Tue Apr 29 23:37:47 UTC 2003

We perhaps do not all read the hunting news in the NY Times.  Those who do not will have missed a demonstration that not all newspaper columnists are careless about word histories.  From "Wily Wild Turkeys Lurk in Abundance for the Hunt", by  Nelson Bryant, New York Times; New York, N.Y.; Apr 27, 2003.  (Only the philologically interesting part is copied.)

The domestic turkey that provides Thanksgiving fodder in America is a distant soft-muscled and fat-laden relative of its wild cousin. Tracking down why a turkey is called a turkey is a challenging hunt in itself. On his delightful Web site, World Wide Words, Englishman Michael Quinion observes that around 1530 a new bird was brought to English dining tables ''by merchants trading out of that area of the eastern Mediterranean called the Levant but whom the English called Turkey merchants because the whole area was then part of the Turkish empire.''


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

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