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The abrupt cessation of something (most often the use of a drug). After smoking for so long, I should have never tried to quit cold turkey—the withdrawal symptoms are unbearable. I'm so impressed that you stopped gambling cold turkey!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Sl. immediately; without tapering off or cutting down gradually. (Originally drug slang. Now used of breaking any habit.) Tom stopped smoking cold turkey. She gave up her drinking habit cold turkey and had no ill effects.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Immediate, complete withdrawal from something, especially an addictive substance; also, without planning or preparation. For example, My bad shoulder forced me to quit playing tennis cold turkey, or I'd never done any rock climbing, but decided to try it cold turkey. This term may have come from the earlier expression talk turkey (for blunt speaking). At first used strictly for abrupt withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, it soon was transferred to quitting any habit or activity. [Early 1900s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
cold ˈturkeythe unpleasant state that drug addicts experience when they suddenly stop taking a drug, or a way of treating addicts that makes them experience this state: The worst time was when he was going cold turkey. ♢ I quit smoking cold turkey (= I stopped suddenly and completely).
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
mod. [stopping something] suddenly, without tapering off. (Said especially of stopping an addictive drug intake. Originally drugs.) Martha stopped cold turkey and survived.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Abrupt withdrawal from any habitual activity. This term, which came into use in the early twentieth century primarily for withdrawal from some addictive substance (drug or alcohol), soon was transferred to quitting other habits and activities. Its ultimate origin is unclear. It may have come from to talk turkey, which was sometimes put as “to talk cold turkey,” both meaning to speak in an unvarnished way about an unpleasant matter.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer