Etymology
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cold turkey 

"without preparation," 1910; narrower sense of "withdrawal from an addictive substance" (originally heroin) first recorded 1921. Cold turkey is a food that requires little preparation, so "to quit like cold turkey" is to do so suddenly and without preparation. Compare cold shoulder. To do something cold "without preparation" is attested from 1896.

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cold (adj.)

Old English cald (Anglian), ceald (West Saxon) "producing strongly the sensation which results when the temperature of the skin is lowered," also "having a low temperature," from Proto-Germanic *kaldjon (source also of Old Frisian and Old Saxon kald, Old High German and German kalt, Old Norse kaldr, Gothic kalds "cold"), from PIE root *gel- "cold; to freeze" (source also of Latin gelare "to freeze," gelu "frost," glacies "ice").

Sense of "unmoved by strong feeling" was in late Old English. Meaning "having a relatively low temperature, not heated" is from mid-13c. Sense of "dead" is from mid-14c. Meaning "not strong, affecting the senses only slightly" (in reference to scent or trails in hunting or tracking) is from 1590s; hence the extended sense in seeking-games, "distant from the object of search" (1864).

Cold front in weather is from 1921. Cold sweat is by 1630s. Cold-call (v.) in the sales pitch sense is recorded by 1964 (implied in cold-calling; the noun cold call is by 1953; cold-selling is from 1947). Cold comfort (by 1650s) is "little comfort, something which offers little cheer." Cold-cream "cooling unguent for the skin" is from 1709. To throw cold water on in the figurative sense "discourage by unexpected reluctance or indifference" is from 1808.

Japanese has two words for "cold:" samui for coldness in the atmosphere or environment; tsumetai for things which are cold to touch, and also in the figurative sense, with reference to personalities, behaviors, etc.

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cold (n.)

c. 1300, "coldness of an object to the touch, relative absence of heat," from cold (adj.). Meaning "sensation produced by loss of heat from the body or some part of it" is from c. 1200.

Sense of "indisposition involving catarrhal inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose or throat" is from 1530s, so called because the symptoms resemble those of exposure to cold; compare cold (n.) in earlier senses "indisposition or disease caused by excessive exposure to cold" (early 14c.), "chills of intermittent fever" (late 14c.). To be left out in the cold in the figurative sense is from 1861.

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Turkey 
country name, late 14c., from Medieval Latin Turchia, from Turcus (see Turk) + -ia.
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turkey (n.)

1540s, originally "guinea fowl" (Numida meleagris), a bird imported from Madagascar via Turkey, and called guinea fowl when brought by Portuguese traders from West Africa. The larger North American bird (Meleagris gallopavo) was domesticated by the Aztecs, introduced to Spain by conquistadors (1523) and thence to wider Europe. The word turkey first was applied to it in English 1550s because it was identified with or treated as a species of the guinea fowl, and/or because it got to the rest of Europe from Spain by way of North Africa, then under Ottoman (Turkish) rule. Indian corn was originally turkey corn or turkey wheat in English for the same reason.

The Turkish name for it is hindi, literally "Indian," probably influenced by French dinde (c. 1600, contracted from poulet d'inde, literally "chicken from India," Modern French dindon), based on the then-common misconception that the New World was eastern Asia.

After the two birds were distinguished and the names differentiated, turkey was erroneously retained for the American bird, instead of the African. From the same imperfect knowledge and confusion Melagris, the ancient name of the African fowl, was unfortunately adopted by Linnæus as the generic name of the American bird. [OED]

The New World bird itself reputedly reached England by 1524 at the earliest estimate, though a date in the 1530s seems more likely. The wild turkey, the North American form of the bird, was so called from 1610s. By 1575, turkey was becoming the usual main course at an English Christmas. Meaning "inferior show, failure," is 1927 in show business slang, probably from the bird's reputation for stupidity. Meaning "stupid, ineffectual person" is recorded from 1951. Turkey shoot "something easy" is World War II-era, in reference to marksmanship contests where turkeys were tied behind a log with their heads showing as targets. To talk turkey (1824) supposedly comes from an old tale of a Yankee attempting to swindle an Indian in dividing up a turkey and a buzzard as food.

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turkey-vulture (n.)
1823, from turkey + vulture. From 1670s as turkey-buzzard.
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cold-blooded (adj.)

also coldblooded; 1590s, of persons, "without emotion, wanting usual sympathies, unfeeling;" of actions, from 1828. The phrase refers to the notion in old medicine that blood temperature rose with excitement. In the literal sense, of reptiles, etc., "having blood very little different in temperature from the surrounding environment," from c. 1600. From cold (adj.) + blood (n.). Related: Cold-bloodedly; cold-bloodedness.

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ice-cold (adj.)

"cold as ice, extremely cold," Old English isceald; see ice (n.) + cold (adj.).

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cold feet (n.)

1893, American English, in the figurative sense "fear or doubt that reverses an intention to do something;" the presumed Italian original (avegh minga frecc i pee) is a Lombard proverb meaning "to have no money," but some of the earliest English usages refer to gamblers, so a connection is possible.

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cold war (n.)

"nonhostile belligerency," used in print October 1945 by George Orwell; popularized in U.S. c. 1947 by U.S. statesman Bernard Baruch (1870-1965). Hence hot war (1947).

More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly. [Woody Allen, from "My Speech to the Graduates," 1979]
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