Go cold turkey


      • to suddenly stop doing something
        to quit a habit or addiction abruptly and without any gradual reduction

      • to abruptly cut off contact
        to stop communicating or interacting with someone without any warning or explanation

    Examples of Go cold turkey

    • She decided to go cold turkey and quit smoking abruptly without any nicotine replacements or gradual reduction in consumption.

      The expression "go cold turkey" refers to giving up a habit or addiction suddenly and completely, without any assistance or gradual withdrawal. This phrase originated from the unpleasant side-effects of stopping eating cold turkey, which can include nausea, headaches, and irritability, similar to the symptoms people may experience when quitting smoking or using other addictive substances. In this example, the woman chooses to quit smoking immediately, which is a challenging and sudden decision, similar to stopping the consumption of cold turkey.

    • After years of being addicted to caffeine, he decided to go cold turkey and avoid any source of caffeine, including coffee, tea, and energy drinks.

      The phrase "go cold turkey" can also be used to refer to abstaining from a substance or activity that is habitually consumed. In this example, the person who has been addicted to caffeine decides to stop consuming caffeine entirely, which can be challenging and may lead to withdrawal symptoms. The metaphorical reference to stopping the consumption of cold turkey emphasizes the suddenness and severity of the decision to quit something like caffeine.

    • The company's advertising strategy went cold turkey when they decided to completely stop using traditional marketing channels like print and TV ads and shifted to online marketing.

      This example shows how the phrase "go cold turkey" can be used to refer to a decision involving a significant change in strategy or approach. In this instance, the company's advertising strategy underwent a complete transformation, abandoning traditional marketing methods, and moving to digital channels. The reference to going cold turkey highlights the substantial shift in approach, which requires an abrupt and complete change.

    • Following her doctor's advice, she went cold turkey and eliminated all processed foods from her diet.

      In this example, the person's decision to stop eating processed foods is described as going cold turkey. The phrase emphasizes the abrupt and complete nature of the dietary change. Eliminating processed foods from one's diet can be challenging and may lead to withdrawal symptoms, similar to those experienced when going cold turkey from other addictive substances. The use of the phrase "go cold turkey" thus highlights the difficulty and severity of the dietary change.

    • Samantha decided to go cold turkey and stop smoking cigarettes abruptly.

      In this example, "go cold turkey" is a phrase that means to stop using a drug, habit, or other addictive substance suddenly and completely, without gradually decreasing the dosage or seeking aid from a professional or support group. The metaphoric meaning behind this phrase comes from the sudden and uncomfortable sensation one may experience after eating turkey and not having any more (going "cold turkey" without gravy or other condiments).

    • After years of consuming sugary drinks every day, Jessica finally decided to go cold turkey and drastically reduce her sugar intake.

      Once again, the phrase "go cold turkey" is used to describe the sudden or drastic cessation of an unwanted habit, whether it be overeating, drinking, smoking, or any other compulsive behavior. In this example, Jessica's decision to stop consuming sugary drinks abruptly is compared to the sensation of eating turkey without any accompanying condiments, which can be shocking and unsettling for some people.

    • The CEO announced that the company would be going cold turkey on all non-essential expenses as a cost-cutting measure.

      In this context, "going cold turkey" has also come to mean taking a severe and immediate action to eliminate unnecessary items or expenses. Here, the CEO's decision to eliminate all non-essential spending is on par with the discomfort that may arise from eating turkey without any dressing or gravy.

    • After her doctor suggested cutting out all processed foods, Sarah decided to go cold turkey and try a fresh, whole foods diet.

      Once again, "going cold turkey" is used to describe the drastic and sudden abandonment of a habit, but in this example, it's applied to a change in diet. By cutting out processed foods and starting over with a fresh, whole foods diet, Sarah's decision is akin to the surprise and discomfort one may feel when eating turkey without the usual accompaniments.


    The idiom "go cold turkey" is commonly used to refer to abruptly stopping a habit or addiction, such as smoking, drinking, or using drugs. It can also be used to describe suddenly cutting off contact with someone, whether intentionally or unintentionally. The phrase is often used to emphasize the sudden and drastic nature of the action.

    The idiom is frequently used in everyday conversation to describe the act of stopping something abruptly, without any gradual reduction or preparation. It can be used in a variety of contexts, from discussing personal struggles with addiction to describing the end of a relationship or friendship.

    Origin of "Go cold turkey"

    The origin of the idiom "go cold turkey" is not entirely clear, but it is believed to have originated in the early 20th century in the United States. One popular theory is that the phrase may have been derived from the phrase "talk turkey," which means to talk plainly and directly. The use of "cold" in this context may have been added to emphasize the sudden and harsh nature of the action.

    Another theory suggests that the phrase may have originated from the physical symptoms of withdrawal that occur when someone abruptly stops using a substance, such as drugs or alcohol. These symptoms, which can include chills and goosebumps, may have led to the use of the word "cold" in the idiom. Regardless of its exact origin, "go cold turkey" has become a widely recognized and commonly used idiom in the English language. Examples of its usage can be found in literature, film, and everyday conversation.