Jive Turkey Meaning

What is the meaning of the phrase jive turkey?

Does it have anything to do with an actual turkey…the answer is not always clear.

the origin of Jive Turkey phrase

The term jive turkey has been used in a variety of ways over the years, but it generally refers to someone who is acting foolishly or engaging in nonsense behavior.

In some cases, it has been used as a derogatory term. So, if you’re not sure what jive turkey means, you should do some research before using it in the conversation!  

We will explore the possible meanings of jive turkey and try to get to the bottom of this expression.

The term “jive turkey” is a slang expression that is used to describe someone who is acting foolish or silly.

The expression is often used as a way to poke fun at someone who is acting stupid or foolish.

The phrase “jive turkey” is a slang insult that emerged in African American Vernacular English in the early 1970s.

Here are some details on the meaning and usage:

  • A “jive turkey” refers to someone who is unreliable, makes empty promises, or is deceptive.
  • “Jive” in this context means nonsense, lies, or exaggerations. So a “jive turkey” is a person who talks nonsense or tries to deceive others.
  • “Turkey” is used to imply that someone is incompetent, clumsy, or a “big bird” who doesn’t have common sense.
  • The phrase became mainstream through Black sitcoms and comedians in the 70s, often to make fun of someone telling an obvious lie.
  • It is generally considered an ethnic and cultural slang expression, though some see it as derogatory. Use depends on context and relationship with the audience.
  • Similar meanings include “phony,” “faker,” “poser,” or someone who is all talk.

So in essence, calling someone a “jive turkey” suggests they are not truthful or competent and just talk nonsense.

It pokes fun at someone’s poor attempts at being deceptive or impressive.

Jive turkey meaning and where does it come from? 

The phrase “jive turkey” is a slang term that is often used to describe someone who is acting foolishly. The exact origins of the phrase are uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in the United States sometime in the mid-20th century.

The term “jive” is a form of African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) that was popularized by jazz musicians in the 1930s and 1940s. It is likely that the word “turkey” was added to “jive” at a later date in order to create a more poetic or humorous phrase.

Today, the term “jive turkey” is still used occasionally to describe someone who is acting stupid or foolish.

However, it is not as common as it once was.

How should you use jive turkey in a conversation? 

Jive turkey is a term that can be used in a variety of ways.

meaning of jive turkey explained
  1. It can be used as a noun, to refer to someone who is foolish or crazy. It can also be used as an adjective, to describe something that is ridiculous or absurd.
  2. Additionally, it can be used as an interjection, to express surprise or disbelief.
  3. As such, jive turkey can add color and flair to any conversation.
  4. When used in moderation, it can help to enliven the discussion and keep things interesting.

However, it is important not to overuse jive turkey, as it can quickly become tiresome.

Used sparingly, however, jive turkey can be a fun and versatile addition to your vocabulary.

Is jive turkey always derogatory? 

Jive turkey meaning and where does it come from

While the term “jive turkey” is often used in a derogatory way, it can also be used in a more positive or neutral manner depending on the context in which it is used.

For example, if two friends are joking around with each other, they might call each other jive turkeys in a friendly way.

However, if someone uses the term jive turkey to describe someone who is acting foolishly, they are likely using it in a derogatory way.

Ultimately, whether or not the term jive turkey is derogatory depends on how it is used and the intent of the person using it.

What are some examples of jive turkey behavior?

There are many examples of jive turkey behavior.

How should you use jive turkey in a conversation_ 

For instance, a jive turkey might strut its stuff, dance to music, or dress in flashy clothing.

  1. Additionally, a jive turkey might talk fast, use slang, or be overly confident.
  2. Jive turkeys often try to impress others with their abilities and accomplishments.
  3. In some cases, jive turkeys might exaggerate the truth or tell outright lies.
  4. Ultimately, jive turkey behavior is all about trying to appear cool and in control.

While some people find this behavior annoying, others find it amusing or even endearing.

Do people still use jive turkey today? 

What is the meaning of the phrase jive turkey

Jive turkey was a term that was popular in the African American community in the 1940s and 1950s.

  • It referred to someone who was boastful and arrogant. The term is not used as much today, but it is still understood by many people.
  • Jive Turkey was originally a character in a comic strip called “Lil Abner.”
  • In the strip, jive turkeys were always trying to impress people with their dance moves and they would say things like “I’m the king of the jive turkeys” or “I can jive better than anyone else.”

Over time, the term came to be used more broadly to refer to anyone who was boastful and arrogant.

Today, you might still hear someone called a jive turkey if they are bragging about themselves or their accomplishments.

What are some alternate expressions for jive turkey?

two friends calling each other jive turkeys.

There are many different ways to say “jive turkey.”

Some other common expressions include “turkey,” “pumpkin,” “giblet,” and “pie.”

Each of these words has a different connotation, but they all essentially mean the same thing: a foolish or stupid person.
In addition, there are many different regional expressions for jive turkey.

For example, in the United States, someone might say “bobblehead” or “airhead.” In the UK, someone might say “nitwit” or “plonker.”

No matter what you call them, jive turkeys are always good for a laugh.

Ultimately, jive turkey meaning can vary depending on how the term is used and the context in which it is used.

However, jive turkey generally refers to someone who is goofy, dumb, silly or foolish.


  • Sasha Corum - Jacks of Science Writer

    Sasha is a Senior Writer at Jacks of Science leading the writing team. She has been in the scientific field since her middle school years and could not imagine working in anything other than molecular atoms, kinetic energy, and deep space exploration.