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Can You Spot All 12 Old-Timey Terms in Our Thanksgiving Word Search?

Ellen Gutoskey
Talk turkey to me.
Talk turkey to me. / alashi/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images
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It’s 12 p.m. on Thursday, November 24, 2022—a.k.a. Thanksgiving Day. Santa Claus’s jolly appearance has just signaled the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but the first football game on the schedule (Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions) doesn’t start for a whole half-hour. Your offer to help out with dinner prep has been graciously rejected on the grounds that there are already too many cooks in the kitchen as it is, leaving you with no choice but to make small talk with whomever else happens to be occupying this holiday-specific liminal space.

Or you could immerse yourself in this word search, instead. There are a dozen slang terms from eras past in the letter grid below, all themed around Turkey Day. Once you’ve spotted them (or thrown in the towel because it’s time for kickoff), keep scrolling to reveal the answer key.

Thanksgiving word search and word definitions on an illustration of a Thanksgiving dinner
How many historical Thanksgiving slang terms can you spot? Click to enlarge. / YagudinaTatyana/Shutterstock (background), Mental Floss (word search)

If you’ve come across this puzzle ahead of November 24, you can always save the image and print out a bunch of copies to pass out on Thanksgiving—an easy way to entertain kids and adults alike who might appreciate an activity that doesn’t involve cooking, talking, or watching TV. 

But you can also just save it to your smartphone or tablet, open up your favorite editing app, and use a drawing tool to highlight the words without any need for pen or paper.

And the fun doesn’t have to be over once you’ve spotted every bit of slang. Challenge yourself and your fellow dinner guests to try to work all 12 terms into conversation throughout the Thanksgiving feast. Did the host farce the turkey? Is there a bubbly-jock present at the table? If that’s bubbly-jock in the second sense, you might order them not to say pea-turkey.


Without further ado, here’s the answer key.

Thanksgiving Word Search answer key
'Cold' wasn't on the list, but it is in the puzzle. / YagudinaTatyana/Shutterstock (background), Mental Floss (word search)
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