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See also: turk, Türk, and Turk.


Alternative forms[edit]


From Old French Turc, from Medieval Latin Turcus, from Turkish Türk, from Old Turkic 𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰜(t²ür²k̥ /türük/).



Turk (plural Turks)

  1. A person from Turkey or of Turkish ethnic descent.
  2. A speaker of the various Turkic languages.
  3. (obsolete) A Muslim.
    • c. 1600 – 1602, William Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 3, Scene 2:
      Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers—if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me—with two Provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a fellowship in a cry of players?
    • 1603, John Florio, transl.; Michel de Montaigne, chapter 12, in The Essayes, [], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], OCLC 946730821:
      Compare but our manners unto a Turke [transl. Mahometan], or a Pagan, and we must needs yeeld unto them [].
    • Chillingworth
      It is no good reason for a man's religion that he was born and brought up in it; for then a Turk would have as much reason to be a Turk as a Christian to be a Christian.
  4. (archaic) A bloodthirsty and savage person; vandal; barbarian.[1] [from 16th c.]
    • 1579, John Lyly, Euphues, page 42:
      Was neuer any Impe so wicked and barbarous, any Turke so vyle and brutishe.
    • 1760, Tobias George Smollett (editor), The Critical Review: Or, Annals of Literature, Volume 9, page 20:
      A sort of primitive barbarity distinguishes the whole; no variety of character appears; and to call a man Turk is to say, that he is jealous, haughty, covetous, ignorant, and lascivious; at the same time that a certain dignity of gait, and magnificence of manners, gives him the appearance of generosity and true greatness of soul.
    • 1987, Anne Mozley, Essays from "Blackwood", page 21:
      A bad temper does seem often favourable to health. The man who has been a Turk all his life lives long to plague all about him.
    • 1906, George Meredith, One of our conquerors, page 292:
      As much as the wilfully or naturally blunted, the intelligently honest have to learn by touch: only, their understandings cannot meanwhile be so wholly obtuse as our society's matron, acting to please the tastes of the civilized man—a creature that is not clean-washed of the Turk in him—barbarously exacts.
    • 1928, Luṫfī Levonian, Moslem mentality: a discussion of the presentation of Christianity to Moslems, page 85:
      They regarded the very word Turk as synonymous with ignorance, impoliteness, and idiocy. To call a man 'Turk' was regarded as a great dishonour to him.
  5. (US, slang) A homosexual, assuming the active role in anal sex.
    • 1938, Aaron Joshua Rosanoff, Manual of psychiatry and mental hygiene, page 159:
      The clannishness of homosexuals has led to the development of special slang expressions among them: Temperamental or queer, a homosexual person. Turk, wolf, or jocker, an active sodomist.
    • 1993, Jonathon Green, Slang down the ages: the historical development of slang, page 231:
      [] turd-packer, hitchhiker on the Hershey highway (fr. the US Hershey chocolate bars), shirt-lifter (Australian), wind-jammer, fart-catcher, dirt tamper, pillow-biter and Turk (fr. the alleged national propensity for sodomy).
    • 2006, Deborah Cameron, On language and sexual politics, page 35:
      One of the many underworld synonyms for an active pederast is turk.
  6. A member of a Mestee group in South Carolina.
  7. A person from Llanelli, Wales.
  8. A Turkish horse.
  9. The plum curculio.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ “Turk” in The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989, →ISBN.





Turk m (plural Turken, diminutive Turkje n, feminine Turkse)

  1. a Turkish person, a Turk

Related terms[edit]