cold turkey

noun Informal.
abrupt and complete withdrawal from the use of an addictive substance, as a narcotic drug, alcohol, or tobacco.
go cold turkey,
to stop using an addictive substance abruptly and completely.
to undergo sudden and complete withdrawal from a habitual activity or behavior pattern.
to begin or do something without planning, preparation, or practice.

1915–20, Americanism; probably from the phrase to talk cold turkey to speak bluntly about something unpleasant, variant of to talk turkey; see turkey Unabridged


[kohld-tur-kee] Slang.
verb (used with object)
to withdraw from (an addictive substance or a habit) abruptly and completely.
verb (used without object)
to withdraw from an addictive substance or a habit abruptly and completely.
abrupt and complete: cold-turkey withdrawal from drugs. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To cold-turkey
World English Dictionary
cold turkey
1.  slang a method of curing drug addiction by abrupt withdrawal of all doses
2.  the withdrawal symptoms, esp nausea and shivering, brought on by this method

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

cold turkey
"without preparation," 1910; narrower sense of "withdrawal from an addictive substance" (originally heroin) first recorded 1921. Cold turkey is a food that requires little preparation, so "to quit like cold turkey" is to do so suddenly and without preparation.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

cold turkey definition

To “go cold turkey” is to withdraw suddenly and completely from an addictive substance or some other form of dependency: “Many people who attempt to quit smoking do so by going cold turkey rather than by gradually cutting down.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature