Posted by ESC on June 28, 2003
In Reply to: Pea turkey or p turkey posted by pete vandenberg on June 27, 2003
: in Olive Ann Burns "Cold Sassy Tree" the phrase "pea turkey" or "p turkey" is used frequently as in "you dont know p turkey" or you dont know the first thing about somthing..what is the derivation..????? Southern US colloq..but from where ??
I've read the expression "never said pea turkey" in books, but never heard it said. In West Virginia, we had a similar expression, "never said dog." "He left and never said dog." He left without saying goodbye or telling anyone he was leaving.
I've looked in all my references and can't find an origin on "pea turkey." But I'm 99 percent sure it would be covered in Volume 4 of the "Dictionary of American Regional English," by Frederic G. Cassidy ( Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England). Your library probably has this reference. I only have the first three volumes and am saving my pennies for the fourth.
Here's what I did find:
NEVER SAID PEA TURKEY- "did not say anything. 'How was I to know that Mary needed money, when she never said pea turkey?' ' No one knew that it was Bill's birthday. He never said pea turkey.'" From "NTC's Dictionary of Folksy, Regional, and Rural Sayings: A Practical Guide to Down-Home Expressions and the Ways They are Used" by Anne Bertram (NTC Publishing Group, Lincolnwood, Ill., 1996).