Word Origin & History
c.1300, from Fr. Turc, from M.L. Turcus, from Byzantine Gk. Tourkos, Pers. turk, a national name, of unknown origin. Said to mean "strength" in Turkish. Cf. Chinese tu-kin, name given c.177 B.C.E. as that of a people living south of the Altai Mountains (identified by some with the Huns). In Persian,
turk, in addition to the national name, also could mean "a beautiful youth," "a barbarian," "a robber." Meaning "person of Irish descent" is first recorded 1914 in U.S., apparently originating among Irish-Americans; of unknown origin (Ir. torc "boar, hog" has been suggested). The country name Turkey (c.1369) is from M.L. Turchia. Young Turk (1908) was a member of an early 20c. political group in the Ottoman Empire that sought rejuvenation of the Turkish nation. Turkish bath is attested from 1644; Turkish delight from 1877.