Talking Turkey

As the (probably apocryphal) tale spins out, back in the early colonial days, a white hunter and a friendly Native American made a pact before they started out on the day’s hunt. Whatever they bagged was to be divided equally between them. At the end of the day, the white man undertook to distribute the spoils, consisting of several buzzards and turkeys. He suggested to his fellow hunter, “Either I take the turkeys and you the buzzards, or you take the buzzards and I take the turkeys.” At this point the Native American complained, “You talk buzzard to me. Now talk turkey.” And ever since, to talk turkey has meant “to tell it like it is.”

— from Lederer on Language, by Richard Lederer

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