Jive Turkey was a derogatory slang word in African American Vernacular English (Ebonics), used to refer to someone who was unreliable, made empty promises, or who was full of bluster. Several funk groups in the late 1960s and 1970s used the term, particularly the Ohio Players in songs such as "Jive Turkey" on the album Skin Tight from 1974. The insult became widely known in the 1980s, particularly via television comedies (e.g., The Jeffersons). The term has been used by later television characters (e.g., Homer Simpson) in order to demonstrate that they are out of touch with modern youth trends, culture, and language. The term was also used in the film Semi-Pro starring Will Ferrell and in Weird Science starring Kelly LeBrock 1985. "Jive turkey" also garnered attention in the movie Trading Places. Jive turkey, however, was already falling into disuse when it was spoken by "hip" television characters in the 1970s, such as George Jefferson. Jive turkey is also a quick step dance in Germany in the 1930s.
That Billy Madison sure is a jive turkey!
November 21, 2011