Why Do We Call It a Turkey?

Turkey—the bird itself—is native to North America. But the name turkey is a geographic pretzel. As you might suspect, the English term for the bird comes from a country called Turkey. But more precisely, the word stems from Turkish merchants who, in the 16th century, imported guinea fowls to Europe, where they were called Turkey-Hens.

When similar birds were found in the Americas, they were mistaken as Turkey-Hens. So the name Turkey stuck and is now used worldwide for the bird.