Discussion in 'English Only' started by perpend, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    What would a turkey do with their feathers, to put them on display?

    "strut their feathers"? Hmmm. Thanks to anyone in the know.
  2. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    I believe that we usually say that a turkey 'displays' its feathers.
  3. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    Ironic that I wrote that above, too. Maybe the "strut" is what they do when they are "displaying feathers". I know this is google-able, but I was curious how people describe this. Thanks.

    Do they strut their displayed feathers? I guess this is like peacocks.
  4. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    I think that usually we think 'display' includes the strutting around they do.

    Although we say that people 'strut their stuff', I don't think I've ever heard of birds 'strutting' their feathers. If I wanted to describe the movement they make while they display their feathers, I'd say "the turkey strutted, displaying his feathers.
  5. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    A turkey puffs up his breast feathers and fans his tail feathers, and struts about at the same time.
  6. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    If it's about mating display, there is lek/lekking, a mating behaviour among species in the grouse family, and the turkey is a relative to the grouse. (I'm a bit surprised that the English language doesn't have its own word for this behavior.)
  7. Keith Bradford

    Keith Bradford Senior Member

    Brittany, NW France
    English (Midlands UK)
    That is the English word, now. Almost all our words came from another language once, it's why the English vocabulary is so rich.

    But I don't thing I've seen lek applied to turkeys, only grouse and their very close wild relatives.
  8. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    Thanks for the additional input. Very interesting!
  9. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    To strut - to walk with stiff legs, chest puffed out and head somewhat higher than usual (usually done in triumph or hubris.)

    "The turkey strutted about the yard displaying its feathers."
  10. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    I have to say I wouldn't use "lek", though it may be technically correct.

    I identify with what velisarius wrote with "to fan feathers", (LIKE!), but "to display feathers" is probably best.

    But if we as humans say "I'm going to strut my stuff", as Cagey says, then why can't we say "That turkey is strutting its feathers"?

    Maybe this is a query for 20 years from now. :)

    I wonder what those jive turkeys will say then.

    EDIT: I need to come clean. This context is about turkeys in a field in Wisconsin, and the male turkeys were trying to show their feathers, and parade around, but you only get to see it from a distance, because these are wild turkeys and they fly away if you get too close.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2013
  11. velisarius Senior Member

    British English (Sussex)
    If you would say "he's strutting his stuff" about a human, I think you could say "that turkey is strutting his stuff" - oh no, perhaps not - too much like "stuffing". I wonder whether "strut one's stuff' isn't so much of a set phrase that "strutting his feathers" would just sound like a misuse. "Strutting his plumage"?
  12. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    Okay, I'm rolling on the floor, laughing. That's clever, velisarius, because I think you can strut something.

    And if this particular turkey is in the mood to strut his plumage, then it is his prerogative. :) That's great, helpful, creative thinking.

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