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Thanksgiving words and phrases

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Thanksgiving words and phrases
July 30, 2019 Holiday Thanks 3 comments

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  1. American
  2. abundant
  3. ample
  4. appreciative
  5. autumnal
  6. baked
  7. blessed
  8. bountiful
  9. buttery
  10. candied
  11. cheerful
  12. classic
  13. creamy
  14. crisp
  1. joyful
  2. joyous
  3. lavish
  4. manifold
  5. mashed
  6. meaningful
  7. merry
  8. native
  9. noble
  10. past
  11. piping hot
  12. plump
  13. privileged
  14. prosperous
  1. delicious
  2. drowsy
  3. elegant
  4. family-style
  5. fortunate
  6. fun-filled
  7. generous
  8. glazed
  9. golden
  10. gracious
  11. grateful
  12. happy
  13. historical
  14. home-cooked
  1. roasted
  2. savory
  3. seasonal
  4. special
  5. spiced
  6. steaming
  7. stuffed
  8. sweet
  9. thankful
  10. traditional
  11. welcoming
  12. whipped
  13. wonderful
  1. acknowledge
  2. appreciate
  3. bake
  4. baste
  5. be mindful
  6. bless
  7. break bread together
  8. bring a side
  9. carve the turkey
  10. celebrate
  11. celebrate our heritage
  12. chow
  13. come together
  14. cook
  15. cook all day
  16. cook the turkey
  17. count your blessings
  18. cover in gravy
  19. defeather
  20. dine
  1. host
  2. host Thanksgiving
  3. loosen up your belt
  4. nap
  5. overflow
  6. pace yourself
  7. pass
  8. pay tribute
  9. pick at the turkey
  10. praise
  11. pray
  12. reap the harvest
  13. reflect
  14. rejoice
  15. relax
  16. remember
  17. remind us
  18. say grace
  19. say the blessing
  20. serve
  1. eat
  2. eat too much
  3. enjoy
  4. express thanks
  5. fall into a food coma
  6. feast
  7. feel full
  8. gather
  9. gather 'round
  10. gather to the feast
  11. gather together
  12. get stuffed
  13. get together
  14. give praise
  15. give thanks
  16. go home
  17. gobble
  18. harvest
  19. have
  20. help clean up
  1. set the table
  2. share
  3. sit at the kids' table
  4. snooze
  5. sow
  6. spend time
  7. spread cheer
  8. stuff
  9. stuff a turkey
  10. symbolize
  11. take a nap
  12. thank
  13. thank God
  14. toast the chef
  15. travel
  16. unite
  17. unite family
  18. visit with family
  19. watch football
  20. welcome
  1. Happy Thanksgiving
  2. I'll be the Official Turkey Taste Tester
  3. I'm more stuffed than the turkey
  4. Mom's little turkey
  5. a Thanksgiving prayer for you
  6. a bounty of happiness
  7. a bushel of blessings
  8. a cornucopia full of []
  9. a day of thanks
  10. a day of thanksgiving
  11. a day steeped in tradition
  12. a day to expres your thanks and gratitude
  13. a day to reflect/remind us of our blessings
  14. a day to watch football
  15. a fabulous feast
  16. a harvest of memories
  17. a lavish meal
  18. a season of appreciation
  1. gobble gobble!
  2. gobble gobble, wobble wobble!
  3. happy turkey day
  4. have a Happy Turkey Day!
  5. home for Thanksgiving
  6. in the loving company of friends and family
  7. it's time for a nap
  8. let let the thankful heart sweeps through the day
  9. let us give thanks
  10. let us reap the harvest together
  11. let's talk turkey
  12. lovin' from the oven
  13. may the bounty of the season fill your heart and your home
  14. may you be blessed this Thanksgiving
  15. my compliments to the chef!
  16. my little gobbler
  17. my, my, look at the pies!
  18. our cups overfloweth
  1. bless this food
  2. break bread together
  3. celebrate harvest and heritage
  4. celebrate harvest and heritage with []
  5. celebrate our great nation
  6. celebrating life's harvest
  7. count your blessings
  8. donate to the needy
  9. eat and watch football
  10. eat ‘till you drop, for tomorrow we shop!
  11. eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we diet
  12. enter with a thankful heart
  13. every third Thursday of November
  14. friends, family, food, and football
  15. full of good things to eat
  16. gather with grateful hearts
  17. give thanks for everything except the veggies
  18. give thanks to God
  1. save the turkeys!
  2. so much to be thankful for
  3. spend time with friends and family
  4. start a new diet the day after Thanksgiving
  5. sugar high from too much pie
  6. the blessings of life are upon you
  7. the fourth Thursday of November
  8. the spirit of Thanksgiving
  9. the table is set, the family’s in town, and we’ll eat ‘till we’re all plump and round
  10. the true meaning of Thanksgiving
  11. too many cooks in the kitchen
  12. we are thankful for our many blessings
  13. what a beautiful bird
  14. what a bunch of turkeys!
  15. when I count my blessings, I count you.
  16. when do we eat?
  17. wishing you the best of the season
  1. An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day. -Irv Kupcinet
  2. At Thanksgiving, my mom always makes too much food, especially one item, like 700 or 800 pounds of sweet potatoes. She's got to push it during the meal. "Did you get some sweet potatoes? There's sweet potatoes. They're hot. There's more in the oven, some more in the garage. The rest are at the Johnson's." -Louie Anderson
  3. Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough. -Oprah Winfrey
  4. Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song. -Konrad von Gesner
  5. But see, in our open clearings, how golden the melons lie; Enrich them with sweets and spices, and give us the pumpkin-pie! -Margaret Junkin Preston
  6. Coexistence... what the farmer does with the turkey - until Thanksgiving. -Mike Connolly
  7. Do not get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, For we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. -Galatians 6:9
  8. Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. -William Arthur Ward
  9. Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. -William Faulkner
  10. Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. -Melody Beattie
  11. Happiness is the realization of God in the heart. Happiness is the result of praise and thanksgiving, of faith, of acceptance; a quiet tranquil realization of the love of God. -White Eagle
  12. He who thanks but with the lips
  13. How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child’s personality. A child is resentful, negative—or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people. -Sir John Templeton
  1. Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves. -Henry Ward Beecher
  2. Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. -Charles Dickens
  3. Stand up, on this Thanksgiving Day, stand upon your feet. Believe in man. Soberly and with clear eyes, believe in your own time and place. There is not, and there never has been a better time, or a better place to live in. -Phillips Brooks
  4. Thanks but in part; The full, the true Thanksgiving Comes from the heart. -J.A. Shedd
  5. Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow. -Edward Sandford Martin
  6. Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. -E.P. Powell
  7. Thanksgiving comes to us out of the prehistoric dimness, universal to all ages and all faiths. At whatever straws we must grasp, there is always a time for gratitude and new beginnings. -J. Robert Moskin
  8. Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence. -Erma Bombeck
  9. Thanksgiving is a magical time of year when families across the country join together to raise America's obesity statistics. Personally, I love Thanksgiving traditions: watching football, making pumpkin pie, and saying the magic phrase that sends your aunt storming out of the dining room to sit in her car. -Stephen Colbert
  10. Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday...The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production. -Ayn Rand
  11. Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. -Johnny Carson
  12. Thanksgiving is an emotional time. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. -Johnny Carson
  13. Thanksgiving is the day when you turn to another family member and say, "How long has Mom been drinking like this?" My Mom, after six Bloody Marys looks at the turkey and goes, "Here, kitty, kitty." -David Letterman
  1. I celebrated Thanksgiving in the traditional way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house; we had an enormous feast. And then I killed them and took their land. -Jon Stewart
  2. I love Thanksgiving turkey...it's the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts. -Arnold Schwarzenegger
  3. If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. -Meister Eckhart
  4. It must be an odd feeling to be thankful to nobody in particular. Christians in public institutions often see this odd thing happening on Thanksgiving Day. Everyone in the institution seems to be thankful 'in general.' It's very strange. It's a little like being married in general. -Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.
  5. It took me three weeks to stuff the turkey. I stuffed it through the beak. -Phyllis Diller
  6. It was dramatic to watch my grandmother decapitate a turkey with an ax the day before Thanksgiving. Nowadays the expense of hiring grandmothers for the ax work would probably qualify all turkeys so honored with "gourmet" status. -Russell Baker
  7. It's a thanksgiving to God. It's something I have wanted to do for a long time, but the record company wasn't ready for it. So I did it myself. -Aaron Neville
  8. It's better to pace yourself throughout a big day like Thanksgiving by having something healthful for breakfast and something light for lunch. -Marilu Henner
  9. It's like being at the kids' table at Thanksgiving - you can put your elbows on it, you don't have to talk politics... no matter how old I get, there's always a part of me that's sitting there. -John Hughes
  10. My mother is such a lousy cook that Thanksgiving at her house is a time of sorrow. -Rita Rudner
  11. My whole problem is that all of my favorite things at Thanksgiving are the starches, and everyone is trying to go low-carb this year, even a green vegetable has carbs in it. -Ted Allen
  12. Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. -W.T. Purkiser
  13. Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. -WT Purkiser
  1. Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. -W. J. Cameron
  2. Thanksgiving, when the Indians said, "Well, this has been fun, but we know you have a long voyage back to England”. -Jay Leno
  3. The funny thing about Thanksgiving, or any huge meal, is that you spend 12 hours shopping for it and then chopping and cooking and braising and blanching. Then it takes 20 minutes to eat it and everybody sort of sits around in a food coma, and then it takes four hours to clean it up. -Ted Allen
  4. The unthankful heart... discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweeps through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! -Henry Ward Beecher
  5. There are a lot of New York City Thanksgiving traditions. For example, a lot of New Yorkers don't buy the frozen Thanksgiving turkey. They prefer to buy the bird live and then push it in front of a subway train. -David Letterman
  6. There is one day that is ours. There is one day when all we Americans who are not self-made go back to the old home to eat saleratus biscuits and marvel how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks than it used to. . . Thanksgiving Day . . . is the one day that is purely American. -O. Henry
  7. This Thanksgiving is gonna be a special one. My mom says I don't have to sit at the card table. - Jim Samuels
  8. To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. -Johannes A. Gaertner
  9. We're having something a little different this year for Thanksgiving. Instead of a turkey, we're having a swan. You get more stuffing. -George Carlin
  10. What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving? -Erma Bombeck
  11. When I was a kid in Indiana, we thought it would be fun to get a turkey a year ahead of time and feed it and so on for the following Thanksgiving. But by the time Thanksgiving came around, we sort of thought of the turkey as a pet, so we ate the dog. Only kidding. It was the cat. -David Letterman
  12. Who does not thank for little, will not thank for much. -Estonian proverb
  13. You can tell you ate too much for Thanksgiving when you have to let your bathrobe out. -Jay Leno






Words and phrases that almost rhyme :   (55 results)

2 syllables:
bidding, building, cheering, chicken, chilling, dishing, driven, fishing, fitting, fizzing, gifting, given, givins, hidden, hissing, kidding, kissing, kitten, listen, loving, missing, phishing, picking, pissing, pitching, prison, quitting, quizzing, ribbon, singing, sipping, sitting, sniffing, spinning, swimming, trimmings, tripping, whipping, whizzing, willing, winning, winnings, wishing, women, writhing

3 syllables:
beginning, beginnings, blue ribbon, forgiven, receiving, relieving, traditions, transmitting, unflinching

4 syllables:
reminiscing


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There are 18 words or phrases included in this 4-page set, with 2 blanks so you can add your favourites. Use together with our Thanksgiving Word Cards.

Of course, your Thanksgiving menu is important, but the holiday is so much more than just piling our plates with mashed potatoes and turkey. Thanksgiving is also a time to show your gratitude for your friends, family, and all that you have in life. These best Thanksgiving quotes will remind everyone of the reason for the fall season! This list is full of thoughtful words that would make for a great holiday toast or even as a nice Thanksgiving Instagram caption. The day can be quite hectic, especially if you're hosting this year's festivities and are worried about other things—Thanksgiving decorations, place cards, and the like—so make sure you read these Thanksgiving quotes for friends and family before November 28, and then save them to read aloud to your guests on Thanksgiving Day.

Or when your day starts to get stressful (and you realize just how many stores are closed on Thanksgiving just as soon as you run out of pumpkin pie ingredients!), just take a moment to scroll through this roundup. We especially love the quote: "Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted all that you have," which was said by Catherine Pulsifer. It reminds us to be mindful and thankful of all we do have. We also love these words by Daniel Humm: "What I love about Thanksgiving is that it’s purely about getting together with friends or family and enjoying food. It’s really for everybody, and it doesn’t matter where you’re from." That quote truly encompasses how special the holiday is.

15 Thanksgiving Quotes That Capture the True Meaning of the Day

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Here are some English idioms and phrases related to Thanksgiving:

A BLESSING IN DISGUISE – Usually when something unfortunate happens but actually turns out to be to our advantage we say “that was a blessing in disguise”.

ex. He says it was a blessing in disguise, because it forced him to focus on growing different revenue streams.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS – Be grateful for what you have. If something bad happens to someone and we are moaning someone may say to us.Stop moaning you should count your blessings.

ex. We may have had a bad week in work and we are complaining when your partner says “you should count your blessings. Our neighbour lost his job yesterday!”

TALK TURKEY – A very American expression. Usually means we should start talking seriously. You often hear it in American detective films.

ex. Ok you guys we need to hear all the facts. You need to start talking turkey now otherwise we will lock you up!!

COLD TURKEY – When someone gives up a bad habit very quickly they often suffer withdrawal symptoms and go cold turkey

For example, when you give up smoking you will feel very bad for several days and wish you had a cigarette. You get headaches as part of your withdrawal symptoms.

ex. I‘m so impressedthatyoustoppedsmokingcoldturkey!

FALL IS IN THE AIR – of course nothing is actually falling in the air but the air and the atmosphere has changed with the cooler air comes the change in leaf colour. Pumpkins are everywhere and there’s a renewed interest in hot drinks, fuzzy sweaters and cozy fires. All of these things make people say that fall is in the air.

ex. This morning I woke up and it felt like Fall was in the air. It was cool out, a little breezing, I actually wore a fleece zip up jacket. 

I’M STUFFED – my stomach is so full of food that I can’t eat anymore. I’m like a stuffed turkey.

ex. The meal was good, and I was stuffed. After dinner, we went back to the room.

Thanksgiving Word Mining puzzles - print out and make as many common words as you can from one of the Thanksgiving phrases.

7 English Words and Phrases For Thanksgiving

What was the first word you learned in English?

I would guess that you learned “good morning,” “my name is…” or “how are you?” first.

Another one of your very first English words was probably “thanks.”

Thanking people for their kind words or actions is an important part of American culture.

That is why, in the United States, there is a whole holiday about saying thanks and being thankful: Thanksgiving.

Have you heard of it?

It is all about food, family and being thankful for the good things in your life—and it is one of the most important holidays in the United States.

For people who don’t live in the United States, this holiday can seem strange or confusing at first.

That’s why we are here today. We are going to talk about the meaning of Thanksgiving, including its history and how people celebrate it now.

Our main focus will be Thanksgiving vocabulary. You will learn over 25 words that are specifically associated with Thanksgiving, so that you can impress your friends if you get invited to a Thanksgiving dinner!

Before we start learning the vocabulary, let’s do a “lightning round” of Thanksgiving questions, to put the holiday in context.


When Is Thanksgiving?

Like many holidays in the United States, the date of Thanksgiving changes every year. However, it is always on a Thursday.

Specifically, it is always on the fourth Thursday of November, so this year it is on November 26th.

What Is Thanksgiving All About?

The Internet is full of information and videos about the history of Thanksgiving.

The short answer is that Thanksgiving is a holiday that began in 1621. In that year, a group of people from England who had traveled to America were having a very difficult time getting accustomed to their new country.

There was a group of Native Americans who helped the English people plant food and survive the difficult winter, so they decided to have a large dinner to give thanks to their Native American friends, and to celebrate that they were still alive.

The main reason that people still celebrate the holiday today is because it is a nice time when you can get together with your friends or family to have fun and eat a delicious meal. Plus it is a great excuse for a party!

Who Celebrates Thanksgiving?

Most people in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving!

People from the United States who live in other countries (also called “expats” or “expatriates”) often celebrate with friends or other Americans by having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

There are some religious holidays (such as Christmas, Easter, Ramadan or Yom Kippur) that are connected to religious traditions or beliefs, but Thanksgiving is generally considered to be secular, which means that it is not associated with any specific religion or denomination.

Many people do say prayers at Thanksgiving dinner, of course, but anyone can participate in Thanksgiving. For example, there are Christian Thanksgivings, Muslim Thanksgivings and even Atheist Thanksgivings.

Finally, there is also a holiday called Thanksgiving in Canada, but it is celebrated in October and its history is completely different from the American celebration of Thanksgiving. So when we say “Thanksgiving” in this article, it will refer to the celebration in the United States.

That’s the main focus of this article, so let’s start going through our Thanksgiving vocabulary words!

Celebrate Thanksgiving! 25 English Words and Phrases for One Delicious Holiday

We’ll start with 10 words that are associated with the holiday, so that you can better understand what the day is all about. Then, we’ll look at 10 common Thanksgiving food words—as you’ll see, for some people, the food is one of the most important things about Thanksgiving! Finally, I’ll share with you 5 bonus idioms and expressions that are related to Thanksgiving words.

Many of these words, especially the foods, can be difficult to describe, so I will include links to pages with pictures. Also, for strange words or words that are difficult to pronounce, I’ll include links to a pronunciation dictionary. Enjoy!

General Thanksgiving Words

1. Thanksgiving

It’s probably a good idea to start with a general definition of this word. As the name indicates, it is about givingthanks and being thankful for the good things that we have in our lives.

Thanksgiving Day is the name of the holiday. As we saw before, there is a holiday with the same name in Canada, and there are also other holidays that celebrate similar ideas in other countries around the world. The American holiday is a little different mainly because of its history, which we will learn more about later.

The word Thanksgiving can also be used as an adjective to describe other words, such as Thanksgiving dinner, Thanksgiving break, or Thanksgiving program, for example.

Americans also like to say, “Happy Thanksgiving!” to anybody they talk to on Thanksgiving (and sometimes the day before Thanksgiving as well).

Example: Thanksgiving Day is on November 26th this year.

2. Holiday

This word may seem simple, but it can actually become confusing.

In American English, the wordholidayis used to describe a day that is special for many people, for any reason.

Official holidays are special to the whole country and are recognized by the government. These official holidays are celebrated by large numbers of people, so most people are not expected to go to work. Examples of official holidays in the United States include New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving Day.

Many people like holidays in the United States because they get a long weekend. A normal weekend is Saturday and Sunday. However some holidays are on a Friday or Monday, so you will have three days when you do not have to go to work or school, instead of just having Saturday and Sunday. Nice!

Some people also use the word “holiday” even if people have to work on that day. For example, many people would say that days like Valentine’s Day, Easter Sunday and Christmas are holidays, but they’re not necessarily “official” holidays. That means that the government has not made them official holidays, so some people may still have to work on those days unless there are special circumstances.

That is a basic explanation, but it also gets more complicated since different states within the United States may have different laws related to holidays.

Example: It is not an official holiday, but many people still celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th every year by wearing green and eating Irish food.

If you talk to someone who speaks British English, holiday refers to a vacation, or a trip when people travel for pleasure. In American English, that would simply be called a vacation. We would not call a vacation a holiday.

Example (American English): We will go on vacation to Brazil next year.

Example (British English): We will go on holiday to Brazil next year.

A very similar (and similar-sounding) phrase is holy day. A holy day is a holiday or special day that has a religious meaning. Holy means sacred or special in a religious context. Some holy days are Christmas, Easter and Yom Kippur, for example.

Example: Good Friday is a holy day in the Christian calendar. It commemorates the day that Jesus was crucified.

Finally, a free day or day off can be an informal way to refer to a day when you don’t have to go to work or school, or when you don’t have anything particular to do. A break is usually more than one day off.

3. Settler

A settler is a person who moves to a new place to start a new life. The verb for this action is to settle. We’ll see an example of a group of settlers in vocabulary word #5 below.

Settlers are also often described as pioneers or explorers. These words express that the settlers have explored a lot of new territory. Sometimes, settlers settle on land that was previously occupied by other groups of people. When that happens, there can be conflicts.

Example: As the United States expanded to the west in the 1800s, many settlers moved into new territories and settled on the land.

4. Colony

A colony is a territory or area that is controlled by a different country. For example, The United States and Canada were both British colonies, and Brazil was a Portuguese colony. The people who create a colony are called colonists. The place where they create their colony is said to becolonized.

Plymouth is the name of a British colony in America. It was in modern-day Massachusetts. It was the location of the first Thanksgiving celebration, so you will often hear this colony’s name when you hear people talking about the history of Thanksgiving.

Example: Britain and France had many colonies in Africa in previous centuries.

5. Pilgrim

In the context of Thanksgiving, the word Pilgrim usually refers to one of the settlers in Plymouth colony. The Pilgrims in Plymouth were settlers from England who immigrated to America in the early 1600s. We capitalize the word “Pilgrim” when referring to this specific group of people.

The Pilgrims were very religious people. They were all Christians belonging to the Puritan or Methodist branches of Christianity. However, one thing all the Pilgrims had in common is that they were Separatists. They did not believe in how their churches were being managed in England, so they wanted to practice their religious ideas freely in a new territory far away from England.

Example: The Pilgrims had difficulties with farming when they arrived to America.

Another meaning of the word pilgrim is a person who makes a trip to a special religious place. In this case, the word “pilgrim” is not capitalized. The special religious trip made by a pilgrim is called a pilgrimage.

Example: Every year, millions of Muslim pilgrims perform the hajj, which is a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

6. Mayflower

Most of the Pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving traveled from Europe to American on a boat called the Mayflower. 

7. Native American

Native Americans were the indigenous people living in America before colonists started arriving from Europe in 1492. The modern-day descendants of those indigenous people are also called Native Americans.

In the past, many people called Native Americans “Indians,” since Christopher Columbus believed he had landed in India. However, this name is not preferred these days because it causes confusion (“Indian” also refers to people from the country of India) and it is not accurate.

A group of Native Americans or other indigenous people is usually called a tribe. The name of the Native American tribe that attended the first Thanksgiving was the Wampanoag tribe.

Example: Many Native Americans died from diseases that the European colonists brought to America.

8. Harvest

If you are a farmer, you generally have a farm where you grow plants. Those plants you grow are called crops.

When the crops are mature, the farmers need to bring their crops in from the fields so that they can eat or sell them. The action of collecting mature crops is to harvest, and the time is also called the harvest.

Thanksgiving originally began as a harvest festival, to celebrate a good harvest after a difficult year.

Example: The coffee harvest was not very good last year, so coffee prices went up.

9. Cornucopia / Horn of Plenty

cornucopiacan be difficult to describe, but if you see a picture of one, you’ll probably understand right away. It is usually made from natural materials (from the farm or forest) and is woven like a basket. For Thanksgiving, it is filled with all the delicious fruits and vegetables that you collected during your harvest.

It is a common symbol of both Thanksgiving and harvest time. Another name for it is horn of plenty(“plenty” means “more than enough”).

The word cornucopia can also describe anything that contains a large, amazing variety of things.

Example: The toy store was a cornucopia of fun for the little children.

10. Fall / Autumn

There are generally four seasons in the United States. Winter goes from December to March, spring goes from March to June, summer goes from June to September and fall goes from September to December.

Fall is the season when Thanksgiving takes place, so many people associate symbols of fall—like falling leaves, cooler weather and orange and brown colors—with Thanksgiving.

In British English, fall is called autumnIn the United States, we say “autumn” as often as we say “fall,” so either word is fine to use.

Example: It’s been especially cold this fall—I hope that doesn’t affect the harvest.

Thanksgiving Food Words

I have been living outside of the US for over 9 years, and one of the things I miss the most is Thanksgiving. I really like to spend time with my family, of course, but I also really miss the delicious food!

Many families have different traditions and foods that they eat for Thanksgiving, but there are some foods and related words that are closely connected to the holiday. Let’s learn more about them!

11. Feast

Afeast is a very large meal. It also is usually a special or fun occasion, like a party where you eat lots and lots of food! Thanksgiving is a feast, but there are other occasions when people celebrate with feasts as well.

Example: After the beautiful wedding ceremony, there was a gigantic feast at a very expensive restaurant.

12. Blessing

In general, a blessing is something that you are fortunate (lucky) to have in your life. It can be a part of your life that is special or that makes you happy. Many people say that their children are blessings, for example.

blessing can also be a prayer that people say before eating a meal. Religious people will often say a blessing before eating a special meal, to show that they are thankful to God that they have so much good food.

At Thanksgiving, non-religious people will also say a blessing, to show that they are thankful for their nice food.

The blessing said before a meal is also called grace,so now you will know what to do when you are asked to “say grace.”

Example: Before the guests ate the Thanksgiving feast, Jill said a blessing and told everyone that she was happy they could be together.

13. Turkey

Finally, we’re getting to the food! Aturkey is a large, strange-looking bird that people commonly eat for Thanksgiving. In a recent Thanksgiving in the United States, it was estimated that people ate 45 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day!

If that sounds too violent for you and you do not want to eat turkey, there is also tofurkey, which is tofu (a soy-based product) that is processed to look and taste like turkey!

Example: In the past, there were many wild turkeys in America, but now almost all of them are domesticated and kept on farms.

14. Gravy

Gravyis a sauce that is served with meat. It is usually made from the juices that come out of the meat when it is cooked, so gravy is often brown and tastes similar to the meat it is made from.

Example: This gravy is delicious, but I have a feeling that it is probably not very healthy. I’ll need to do a lot of exercise after dinner!

15. Cranberry / Cranberry Sauce

cranberry is a type of small fruit that grows on bushes. It looks similar to a blueberry, but a cranberry is a bit larger and the color is different.

Cranberries are generally tart (sour), so they are most often cooked and sweetened with sugar to make cranberry sauce.People eat cranberry sauce with turkey meat.

Example:Some people who have not tried cranberry sauce with meat think it sounds strange, but you should really try it—t’s delicious! The combination of sweet and salty flavors is excellent.

16. Pumpkin Pie (and Whipped Cream)

You probably know what a pie is. It is a dessert like a cake, but thicker, flatter and moister.

But you may not know what a pumpkin is. It is a large, orange fruit. When you cook pumpkin, you can use it as filling forpumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie is the most popular Thanksgiving dessert.

Many people eat pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top. Whipped cream is just cream that you whip (or beat with a fork or mixer) until it changes from a liquid to almost a solid.

Example: I feel full, but this pumpkin pie is so delicious. Well, you only live once, and it’s Thanksgiving—give me another piece, please! And don’t forget the whipped cream!

17. Yams / Sweet Potatoes

Yams and sweet potatoesare types of tubers, somewhat similar to potatoes. There is a difference between yams and sweet potatoes, but most people don’t know (or care) about the difference. Both are used for typical Thanksgiving foods.

People usually cook them and mash them into a puree, adding brown sugar or other sweet ingredients like marshmallows.

Example: Those yams look tasty, but could you please serve me the part that doesn’t have marshmallows? They’re too sweet for me.

18. Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoesare pureed potatoes. People often add milk, butter and salt, but you can add many other ingredients like herbs and spices.

Example: For Thanksgiving, people often eat mashed potatoes with gravy on top.

19. Stuffing / Dressing

When you cook a turkey in the oven, you generally put some ingredients inside the turkey while you cook it. These ingredients are called stuffing(or dressing in some places).

Stuffing often includes celery, herbs and cubes of bread, but it depends on the cook’s preferences. Also, some people think it is strange to eat the stuffing that was inside the turkey, so they may cook stuffing separately.

Example: There always seems to be a lot of stuffing at Thanksgiving, but never enough gravy.

20. Corn

You have probably eatencorn, so I don’t have to give you an explanation of this one.

For Thanksgiving, corn is more common as a symbol than as a food, because dried ears of corn are often associated with the harvest time of year.

Example: Some families do eat corn for Thanksgiving, but many people are more interested in eating the special foods that are traditionally associated with the holiday. They may just use corn as decoration on the table.

5 Bonus Idioms and Phrases Related to Thanksgiving

Here are some sayings and phrases that are connected to the words above.

21. (To be) thankful (for something)

This is a very common phrase that you’ll hear around Thanksgiving. It is a way to express that you are thankful (happy) for the good things in your life.

Example: Let’s take turns and say what we’re thankful for. I’m thankful that I’m healthy and that all of us could be together for this Thanksgiving feast.

22. (To be) a turkey

This is not connected to Thanksgiving, but if you call a person a turkeyyou’re saying that he or she is weird or funny.

Example: As a joke, while John was riding the bus he was making airplane sounds and pretending that he was a pilot. He’s a real turkey sometimes.

23. Hot potato

A hot potato is a difficult problem or situation that no one wants to solve, so they pass it on and on from one person to the next. A hot potato will burn your hands if you hold it, so you need to throw it to someone else quickly!

It is also the name of a game that you may have played in class, where you have to throw around a ball or other object as fast as possible.

Example: We still need to plan our presentation, but no one has the time or desire to work on it. The presentation is becoming a hot potato, so someone needs to take charge.

24. Corny

This is an adjective that means silly, funny or not cool.

Example: Now that Tom is a father, he seems to constantly make “dad jokes”—corny jokes that no one laughs at.

25. Black Friday

You may have heard about this day, especially if you’re interested in shopping or discounts.

In the pastand still todaymany people get two days off of work for Thanksgiving: Thursday and Friday. This effectively creates a “four-day weekend,” so many people travel or do fun things during the days after Thanksgiving.

Also, the day or two after Thanksgiving gives people a good opportunity to do some Christmas shopping, since Christmas is generally about a month after Thanksgiving. However, many people had the same idea, so the day after Thanksgiving began to be called Black Friday because it was usually a chaotic, “dark” time to go shopping since many stores were completely full of people.

In recent times, especially with the Internet, many stores have started having “Black Friday Sales.” Sometimes there are good deals, and sometimes people just think there will be good deals, so they go to a store to see. Either way, it is still generally one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Example: I don’t want to go anywhere for Black Friday. People go crazy trying to find good sales, but most of the same deals are available online.

Let’s Practice

Okay, so now you have well over 25 new words related to Thanksgiving, so let’s practice with them. Check out this article on Wikipedia’s Simple English entry for Thanksgiving and see how many of the words above you can find and understand. You will probably be surprised that most of them are in that text, and that you can understand them—right?

If you have a chance, read some other articles about Thanksgiving on FluentU and other websites. Even better, if you can, try to get together with some friends and family for a Thanksgiving feast, or at least your own personal version of a Thanksgiving feast.

If that is too much work, you can at least think about the things that you are thankful for in your life.

Personally, I am thankful that you took the time to read this article. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, even if it is just a small Thanksgiving in your mind.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Ryan Sitzman teaches English and sometimes German in Costa Rica. He is passionate about learning, coffee, traveling, languages, writing, photography, books and movies, but not necessarily in that order. You can learn more or connect with him through his website Sitzman ABC.

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Check out our list of 107 thanksgiving quotes to encourage gratitude and we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by .

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