American culture

English Idioms and Vocabulary Related to Thanksgiving

November 18, 2018
English Idioms and Vocabulary Related to Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the holiday when Americans love to get together and eat traditional Thanksgiving foods. It’s also a time to do what the holiday’s name says: give thanks! But it can also be something else for international students: it can be a chance to learn some more English idioms and vocabulary. How many of these English idioms and vocabulary words related to Thanksgiving do you know? Some of them are not related to the Thanksgiving holiday but are related to symbols associated with Thanksgiving (like turkeys).

English Idioms and Vocabulary Related to Thanksgiving

(To quit something) cold turkey

Definition: To quit something (usually a habit) at once (versus quitting something slowly over time).

Example: Bob quit smoking by using a nicotine patch for 6 months. Tom quit smoking cold turkey.

To count one’s blessings

Definition: To notice the many good things in one’s life; to practice gratitude.

Example: I count my blessings every day, even when I’m unhappy with some things in my life.  


Definition: To eat a lot (verb); a large meal (noun).

Example (verb): We feasted last night!

Example (noun): You made a ham AND a roast??? What a feast you prepared!

Food coma

Definition: The slow and tired feeling after eating a lot.

Example: I think I’m in a food coma after that dessert.

To gobble something up

Definition: To eat something quickly.

Example: Everyone gobbled up the potatoes.

Note: this is a phrasal verb. It is related to Thanksgiving because we say that turkeys make the sound “gobble gobble.”


Definition: To fill the inside of something (verb); to be filled with food (adjective).

Example (verb): My mom stuffed the turkey this morning and now it’s cooking in the oven.  

Americans often stuff their turkey with dried bread, vegetables, and herbs. 

Example (adjective): I am stuffed! I couldn’t possibly eat anything more.  

To talk turkey

Definition: To speak directly and openly (usually about business).

Example: OK, let’s talk turkey. How much will you charge us for the entire project?

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