saying thank you

201 Thanksgiving Words and Phrases to Show Gratitude This Year (With Definitions, Audio and Examples)

In the United States, there’s a whole holiday about showing gratitude (the state of being thankful): Thanksgiving.

Like many holidays in the United States, the exact date of Thanksgiving changes every year. However, it’s always on the fourth Thursday of November.

In this article, we’re going to talk about Thanksgiving vocabulary. You’ll learn 201 words and phrases specifically associated with the holiday, so you can impress your friends when Thanksgiving dinner comes around.

You’re also going to learn a little bit about Thanksgiving—what it means, its history and how people celebrate it now.

So wrap yourself in your favorite blanket, grab a warm drink and read on!


General Thanksgiving Words

Most people in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving.

Those who came from other countries (also called expats or expatriates ) often celebrate with friends or other Americans by having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

As a holiday, Thanksgiving is generally considered to be a secular one. That means it’s not associated with any specific religion or denomination.

Many people say prayers at Thanksgiving dinner, of course. However, anyone of any religion can participate in Thanksgiving.

General Thanksgiving WordsMeaningExample Sentence
abundance a large amount of something, plenty An abundance of love and happiness fills our home during Thanksgiving.
appreciation thankful acknowledgment and recognition Appreciation for our family's support is important on Thanksgiving.
celebration a joyful event to mark a special occasion We have a big celebration with friends and family on Thanksgiving Day.
charity the act of giving help, typically to those in need Thanksgiving is a time for charity, and many people donate food to the less fortunate.
community a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common Our community comes together to organize a Thanksgiving parade every year.
compassion sympathetic concern for the suffering of others Showing compassion by volunteering at a shelter is a great way to spend Thanksgiving.
connection a relationship in which a person or thing is linked or associated with something else Thanksgiving is a time to strengthen our connection with family and friends.
conversations talks or discussions between people During Thanksgiving dinner, lively conversations fill the room.
cornucopia a symbol of abundance and nourishment, often in the shape of a horn filled with fruits and vegetables The cornucopia on the Thanksgiving table represents the bountiful harvest.
crafts creative activities involving skill in making things by hand Children enjoy making Thanksgiving crafts like paper turkeys and colorful leaves.
fall the season from late September to December It’s been especially cold this fall.
family a group of people related by blood or affection Family is at the heart of Thanksgiving, bringing loved ones together.
fellowship friendly association, especially with people who share one's interests We cherish the fellowship of our close friends during the Thanksgiving holiday.
festival a day or period of celebration, often with cultural or religious significance Thanksgiving is a joyful festival where people give thanks for their blessings.
friends people with whom one has a bond of mutual affection Friends often gather for a Thanksgiving feast and share good times together.
generosity the quality of being generous or giving Generosity shines through when people help those in need during Thanksgiving.
gathering the act of coming together, especially for a social event A gathering of loved ones is a common tradition on Thanksgiving Day.
gratefulness the state of being thankful Gratefulness is expressed through words of thanks on Thanksgiving.
gratitude the quality of being thankful and showing appreciation Gratitude for the little things in life is a key aspect of Thanksgiving.
harvest the season when crops are gathered, or the act of collecting crops The bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables is a symbol of Thanksgiving.
heartfelt showing sincere and deep emotion We exchange heartfelt wishes for a happy Thanksgiving with our loved ones.
holiday a day that is special for many people for any reason. People often do not work on this day. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
homecoming the act of returning home, or the event or tradition that celebrates the return of people to their hometown or a place they consider their home Every year, the town has a big homecoming celebration where people come back to visit and enjoy time with their families.
hospitality friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests Hospitality is a hallmark of Thanksgiving as people open their homes to others.
kindness the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate Kindness toward one another is a central theme of Thanksgiving.
leaves the usually green and flat organ that grows from the stem of a plant Colorful leaves falling from trees are a sign of the autumn season.
love a strong feeling of affection and care toward someone or something Love and gratitude are expressed toward family and friends during Thanksgiving.
neighbor a person living near or next door to the speaker or person referred to We often invite our neighbor to join our Thanksgiving celebration to strengthen community bonds.
November the eleventh month of the year, known for the Thanksgiving holiday November is when we gather for Thanksgiving and give thanks for our blessings.
prayer a solemn request for help or expression of thanks to a deity or god Many families say a prayer before their Thanksgiving meal to express thanks.
reflection serious thought or consideration Reflection on our blessings is an important part of Thanksgiving Day.
remembrance the action of remembering something Thanksgiving is a time for remembrance of our heritage and loved ones.
service the action of helping or doing work for someone Many people volunteer their service to those in need on Thanksgiving Day.
sharing the action of giving a portion of something to others Sharing a meal and love with family and friends is what Thanksgiving is all about.
Thanksgiving a holiday about giving thanks and being thankful for the good things that we have in our lives Thanksgiving Day is on November 24th this year.
unity the state of being united or joined as a whole Thanksgiving promotes unity as people come together to give thanks and celebrate.
volunteer a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task Many people choose to volunteer their time to help those in need during Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Food Words

Many families eat different things for Thanksgiving depending on their culture, but there are some foods and related words closely connected to the holiday. Let’s learn more about them!

Thanksgiving Words Related to FoodMeaningExample Sentence
acorn squash a type of winter squash with a sweet and nutty flavor I roasted acorn squash with a drizzle of honey for a delicious side dish.
allspice a spice with a flavor resembling a combination of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg I used allspice in the pumpkin pie for a warm and spicy flavor.
apple a fruit that is red, green or yellow and is commonly used in pies and desserts My mother likes to put apple butter on everything.
brussels sprouts small, green vegetables that are part of the cabbage family and are often roasted or sautéed I roasted brussels sprouts with olive oil and garlic for a tasty side dish.
butter a creamy dairy product used in cooking and as a condiment Spread some butter on your dinner rolls for a rich and savory flavor.
caramel a sweet, sticky sauce made by heating sugar and cream The caramel on the apple pie is the best part, in my opinion.
casserole a dish made by cooking a mixture of ingredients, often including vegetables, in the oven The green bean casserole is a classic Thanksgiving side dish.
chutney a condiment made from fruits or vegetables cooked with sugar and spices The mango chutney adds a sweet and tangy kick to the turkey.
cider a beverage made from the juice of pressed apples A glass of apple cider is a refreshing drink on a fall day.
cinnamon a spice with a warm and sweet flavor often used in baking The cinnamon in the pumpkin pie filling makes it taste so good.
collard greens leafy greens that are often cooked and served as a side dish My grandmother's collard greens recipe is a family favorite.
corn a yellow or white vegetable with sweet kernels often eaten on the cob We enjoyed corn on the cob with melted butter at our Thanksgiving dinner.
cranberries small, red berries often used to make cranberry sauce or relish The cranberries add a tart flavor to the turkey stuffing.
feast a large and delicious meal with a variety of dishes Thanksgiving is a time for family and a big feast of traditional dishes.
garlic a pungent and flavorful bulb used in cooking to add a savory taste I roasted the turkey with garlic and herbs for extra flavor.
gravy a sauce made from meat drippings and flour, often served over meat or potatoes Pass the gravy, please. It goes perfectly with the mashed potatoes.
grill to cook food over an open flame or on a grill We like to grill vegetables for a healthy and smoky flavor.
green beans long, slender green vegetables often used in casseroles and side dishes The green beans were seasoned with almonds for a crunchy texture.
ham a cured and smoked meat often served as a main course We usually have ham alongside the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.
honey glaze a sweet and sticky mixture used to coat roasted meats or vegetables The honey glaze gives the carrots a delicious sweetness.
macaroni and cheese a creamy pasta dish made with cheese and macaroni Kids love macaroni and cheese as a comforting side dish at Thanksgiving.
mashed potatoes potatoes that are boiled and mashed with butter and milk Pass the mashed potatoes, please. I can't get enough of them!
maple syrup a sweet syrup made from the sap of sugar maple trees, often used as a topping I drizzle maple syrup over my pancakes on Thanksgiving morning.
mulled wine red wine heated with spices and served warm, often during the holiday season Sipping on a glass of mulled wine by the fireplace is so cozy on Thanksgiving.
nutmeg a spice with a warm and slightly nutty flavor used in sweet and savory dishes A pinch of nutmeg enhances the flavor of the pumpkin pie.
oyster a type of shellfish often used in seafood dishes and stuffing I love the unique taste of oyster stuffing with herbs and breadcrumbs.
pecan a type of nut often used in pies and desserts The pecan pie is a classic Thanksgiving dessert with a rich, nutty filling.
pie a baked dish consisting of a sweet or savory filling in a pastry crust We can't have Thanksgiving without a slice of pumpkin pie for dessert.
sage an aromatic herb with a savory flavor, often used in stuffing and gravy The sage in the turkey stuffing gives it a wonderful earthy taste.
scalloped potatoes sliced potatoes baked in a creamy sauce and cheese The scalloped potatoes were golden and bubbly, a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving dinner.
stuffing a mixture of bread, herbs and other ingredients, often cooked inside the turkey My grandma's stuffing recipe is a family tradition on Thanksgiving.
sweet potatoes a starchy and sweet root vegetable often served mashed or as a casserole The candied sweet potatoes are a delightful Thanksgiving side dish.
tofurkey a vegetarian or vegan alternative to turkey made from tofu or other plant-based ingredients We're having tofurkey for our vegan Thanksgiving dinner this year.
turkey a large bird traditionally roasted and served as the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal My family always enjoys a beautifully roasted turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
yam a type of sweet potato with orange flesh and a sweet flavor I'm making candied yams with marshmallows for Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving History Words

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

Thanksgiving began in 1621. In that year, a group of people from England who traveled to America were having a hard time getting accustomed to (used to) their new country.

There was a group of Native Americans who helped the English people plant food and survive the difficult winter. As a result, the English 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’s a nice time to get together with your friends or family to have fun and eat a delicious meal. Plus, it’s a great excuse for a party!

Thanksgiving Words Related to HistoryMeaningExample Sentence
settlers people who establish a new community or colony The settlers built homes and farms in the new land.
Pilgrims English settlers who came to America seeking religious freedom The Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving with the Wampanoag tribe.
colonists early European settlers in America The colonists celebrated the first Thanksgiving in the United States.
immigrant someone who moved from one country to another My parents were immigrants to this country years ago.
indigenous peoples original inhabitants of a place The indigenous peoples of America had diverse cultures and traditions.
Mayflower the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America in 1620 The Mayflower carried the Pilgrims to Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Native Americans the indigenous peoples of North America Many Native Americans lived off the land, hunting and gathering food.
Plymouth a town in Massachusetts where the Pilgrims settled The Plymouth colony was established in 1620.
Squanto a Native American who helped the Pilgrims survive in America Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to plant crops and fish.
voyage a long journey, especially by sea The voyage across the Atlantic was challenging for the Pilgrims.
Wampanoag a Native American tribe who helped the Pilgrims The Wampanoag shared a feast with the Pilgrims during the first Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Events Vocabulary

Every Thanksgiving, people in the United States follow certain traditions. Here are a few examples.

Thanksgiving Words Related to EventsMeaningExample Sentence
Thanksgiving dinner a special meal that families have on Thanksgiving Day, typically featuring roasted turkey and various side dishes Every year, my family gathers for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.
Black Friday the day after Thanksgiving when many stores offer significant discounts and sales, marking the beginning of the holiday shopping season Shops are crowded with people looking for great deals during Black Friday.
Cyber Monday a day known for online shopping deals and discounts, similar to the Black Friday sales that occur in physical retail stores I make sure my budget is enough for Cyber Monday.
family gatherings people coming together, often relatives, to celebrate and enjoy each other's company during special occasions like Thanksgiving Family gatherings are an important part of Thanksgiving, where we share love and gratitude.
parade a public event where people march or walk in a procession, often involving floats, music and entertainment We watched a colorful parade on Thanksgiving morning with big balloons and marching bands.
football a popular sport in which two teams compete to carry or throw a ball into the opposing team's end zone to score points Football games are often played on Thanksgiving, and we cheer for our favorite teams.
turkey trot races running races held on or around Thanksgiving, often with participants wearing costumes or turkey-themed attire I joined a turkey trot race on Thanksgiving morning and had fun running with others.
Friendsgiving a popular tradition where friends gather to celebrate Thanksgiving together Are you coming to John's Friendsgiving party tomorrow?

Objects Related to Thanksgiving

Below are the things you’ll often see on Thanksgiving. Make sure to remember what they are so you’ll know what to call them on Thanksgiving dinner!

Thanksgiving ObjectsMeaningExample Sentence
breadbasket a container used to serve and store bread I was busy preparing the breadbasket when my friends came.
centerpiece a decorative item placed in the middle of a table to enhance its appearance The beautiful centerpiece added a festive touch to our Thanksgiving table.
garland a decorative string of flowers, leaves or other materials We hung a colorful garland on the fireplace for Thanksgiving.
headdress an ornamental piece of clothing worn on the head She wore a traditional headdress as part of her Thanksgiving costume.
bonnet a type of head covering, often with ties under the chin The baby looked adorable in her tiny bonnet on Thanksgiving.
trivet a small stand used to protect surfaces from hot cookware We placed the hot casserole dish on the trivet during our Thanksgiving meal.
table runner a long decorative cloth placed on a table The colorful table runner added a touch of elegance to our Thanksgiving dinner table.

Games to Play On Thanksgiving

Of course, Thanksgiving won’t be complete without fun and games.

Thanksgiving GamesWhat This Game Is
charades a classic party game where players act out words or phrases without speaking, and others try to guess what they're acting out
board games games played on a game board, such as Monopoly, Scrabble and Settlers of Catan
trivia a game that involves asking questions related to the holiday, its history, traditions or general knowledge
Pictionary a drawing and guessing game where players draw a word or phrase without using letters or numbers while their team tries to guess what it is
bingo a game where players mark off Thanksgiving-related words or images on their bingo cards as they're called out
card games games like Poker, Rummy or Uno that can be enjoyed on Thanksgiving as a casual and social activity
scavenger hunt a game or activity in which participants are given a list of items, clues or tasks to find or complete, and they must search for these items or complete the tasks within a specified time frame
cornhole a popular lawn game that involves throwing bean bags into holes on a wooden board
tabletop role-playing games a game where participants create characters and embark on epic quests guided by a game master

Thanksgiving Quotes

Want to send your loved ones in the U.S. some special messages on Thanksgiving Day? Here are some ideas for you.

Quotes on ThanksgivingWho Said ItMeaning
"Gratitude turns what we have into enough." AesopBeing thankful for what we have makes us feel content with what we already possess.
"Thanksgiving is a time to count your blessings." UnknownThanksgiving is a time to think about and appreciate all the good things in your life.
"Gratitude is the best attitude." UnknownHaving a thankful and positive outlook is a great way to approach life.
"Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." Melody BeattieBeing thankful helps us understand our past, find peace in the present and plan for the future.
"In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact." Les BrownEach day provides many chances to do something good and be thankful for those opportunities.
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." William Arthur WardIt's important to show and share your thankfulness, just like giving a gift to someone.
"The more you are thankful, the more you attract things to be thankful for." UnknownWhen you appreciate what you have, more good things will come your way.
"Gratitude is the memory of the heart." Jean Baptiste MassieuGratitude is a feeling stored in your heart, remembering the good things in life.
"Thanksgiving is a time to give, a time to love and a time to reflect on the things that matter most in life." Danielle DuckeryThanksgiving is a time to be generous, show love and think about what's truly important.
"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." William Arthur WardBeing thankful can make regular days special, turn work into happiness and make ordinary moments feel like gifts.
"Thanksgiving is a time to come together and share our love and gratitude." UnknownThanksgiving is a time for people to gather and express their love and thankfulness.
"Gratitude is the key to a happy heart." UnknownBeing thankful is the way to have a joyful and content heart.
"Gratitude is the simplest way to bring joy into your life." UnknownBeing thankful is the easiest way to make your life happier.
"Thanksgiving is a time to share and care." UnknownThanksgiving is a time to give and look out for others.
"Gratitude makes every meal a feast." UnknownWhen you are thankful, even a simple meal can feel like a grand feast.
"Thanksgiving is a time to savor the moments and create lasting memories." UnknownThanksgiving is a time to enjoy the present and make memories that will stay with you.
"Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on, get drunk." RumiThankfulness is like a delicious drink for your soul; enjoy it to the fullest.
"Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate the harvest of good things in our lives." UnknownThanksgiving is a time to be thankful for the natural world and all the things it provides us.
"Gratitude is the music of the heart when its chords are swept by the breeze of kindness." UnknownThankfulness is like the sweet music your heart plays when you're treated with kindness.
"Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy the warmth of togetherness." UnknownThanksgiving is a time to feel close and connected to the people you're with.
"Gratitude is the best seasoning for every meal." UnknownBeing thankful adds extra flavor and enjoyment to any meal.
"Gratitude is the best pillow." UnknownBeing thankful helps you have a peaceful and comfortable sleep.
"Gratitude is the fairest blossom that springs from the soul." Henry Ward BeecherBeing thankful is the most beautiful thing that comes from deep within us.
"Thanksgiving is a time to fill your heart with love and your plate with food." UnknownThanksgiving is a time to be full of love and enjoy a delicious meal.

Jokes About Thanksgiving

While Thanksgiving is an important occasion, it doesn’t mean you can’t make a joke about it. If your American friends have a sense of humor (and I’m sure most of them do), they might appreciate you telling them some jokes. Ask the question first, and if no one is answering or if they’re giving the wrong answer, give them the answers below.

Why did the turkey sit next to the computer? Because it wanted to keep an eye on the mouse! The turkey sat near the computer because it thought the computer mouse might be a real mouse. Turkeys can get scared of mice.
What do you get when you cross a turkey with a banjo? A turkey that can pluck itself! If you mix a turkey (the bird we eat on Thanksgiving) with a banjo (a musical instrument with strings), you might get a funny image of a turkey that can pull or "pluck" its own feathers, which is just a playful idea.
Why was the math book sad on Thanksgiving? Because it had too many problems. The math book was like a person, and it felt sad on Thanksgiving because it had too many math questions and didn't want to work on a holiday.
What do you call a turkey on the day after Thanksgiving? Lucky! The turkey is lucky because it's the day after Thanksgiving, and it wasn't cooked and eaten, which is what usually happens to turkeys on that day.
What's a turkey's favorite dessert? Peach gobbler! The joke is a wordplay on "peach cobbler," a type of dessert. It imagines that turkeys might like a dessert made from peaches, so they call it "peach gobbler" instead. ( "Gobble" is the sound turkeys make, and can also mean "to eat.")
What did the cranberries say to the turkey on Thanksgiving? Stop staring at me, you're making me cranberry sauce! The cranberries were joking with the turkey and telling it not to look at them because they were afraid the turkey might turn them into cranberry sauce, which is often served with turkey.
Why did the scarecrow become a successful stand-up comedian? Because he was outstanding in his field! Scarecrows are usually placed in fields to scare away birds. This joke plays with the word "outstanding," saying the scarecrow was very good in his field, but it also sounds like he's "out standing" in the field.
What do you call a can opener that doesn't work? A can't opener. This joke is a play on words. Instead of "can opener" (a tool to open cans), it says "can't opener," which means it can't open cans, emphasizing that it's broken or not working.
What's the key to a great Thanksgiving dinner? The tur-key! This joke plays with the word "key." It's a pun, saying that the essential thing for a great Thanksgiving dinner is not an actual key but a turkey (the main dish).
What did one plate say to the other plate on Thanksgiving? Don't worry, I've got you covered! This joke is about the plates used for serving food. One plate reassures the other plate that it will protect it or "cover" it, meaning it will help serve the food together.

Adjectives You Can Use on Thanksgiving

Looking for the right word or words to describe how you feel about Thanksgiving? Get a load of the adjectives below.

Thanksgiving AdjectivesMeaningExample Sentence
autumnal relating to or characteristic of autumn The leaves turned beautiful shades of red and orange in the autumnal season.
bountiful generously given or providing a large amount The Thanksgiving table was filled with a bountiful feast of food.
corny silly, funny or not cool Now that Tom is a father, he seems to constantly make “dad jokes”—corny jokes that no one laughs at.
cozy warm and comfortable, creating a feeling of snugness They gathered around the fireplace to enjoy a cozy evening together.
delicious very tasty and enjoyable to eat The homemade pie was so delicious that everyone asked for seconds.
festive full of joy and celebration, often related to a holiday or special occasion The streets were decorated with colorful lights, creating a festive atmosphere for Thanksgiving.
gracious being kind, polite and showing good manners On Thanksgiving, people are often gracious and say "thank you" when they receive a delicious meal.
grateful feeling or showing appreciation and thankfulness They were grateful for the support of their friends and family during difficult times.
heartwarming eliciting warm and positive emotions, often related to touching or moving moments The family's reunion on Thanksgiving was a heartwarming experience filled with tears of joy.
homemade made at home, often referring to food prepared from scratch The homemade pumpkin pie had a special, unique flavor.
homey comfortable and cozy, like being at home The Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma's house felt very homey with the warm fireplace and soft chairs.
joyful full of joy and happiness The children's laughter and games made the Thanksgiving gathering joyful and lively.
nourishing providing good nutrition and making you feel healthy and strong Turkey is a nourishing food, and it helps us feel full and energetic during the holiday.
peaceful free from disturbance or conflict; calm and tranquil The countryside offered a peaceful setting for a Thanksgiving weekend getaway.
plentiful having a lot of something, often more than enough The Thanksgiving feast was plentiful, with dishes like mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetables.
reverent showing deep respect and honor, often in a religious or spiritual context They held a reverent ceremony to give thanks for their blessings on Thanksgiving Day.
rustic simple, natural and related to the countryside We celebrated Thanksgiving in a rustic cabin in the woods, surrounded by trees and nature.
savory food with a salty or flavorful taste, often associated with a pleasant, rich and delicious flavor The pizza was very savory because it had a lot of cheese and tasty toppings.
thankful feeling or expressing gratitude and appreciation They were thankful for the health and happiness they enjoyed in their lives.
traditional following or connected with long-established customs or beliefs They prepared a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.
turkey-filled filled with or featuring turkey as a central part of the meal The turkey-filled Thanksgiving feast left everyone feeling full and satisfied.
warm comfortably mild, or having a pleasant and friendly atmosphere The warm fire in the fireplace kept the room cozy on a chilly Thanksgiving evening.
wholesome good for your health and well-being, usually referring to food that is nutritious Eating fresh vegetables and fruits is a wholesome choice for a Thanksgiving meal.

Companies Associated With Thanksgiving

When talking about Thanksgiving, your American friends will likely be throwing around company names related to the holiday. If you’re not sure what they mean—well, here’s a list to help you decode those random-sounding names.

Companies Associated With ThanksgivingWhat This Company Is Known For
Butterball turkeys
Ocean Spray cranberry products
Campbell's canned soups
Stove Top stuffing mixes
Pearl Milling Company pancake and syrup products
Macy's department store; Thanksgiving parade
McCormick herbs and spices
Pillsbury refrigerated dough products
King's Hawaiian sweet rolls and bread products
Starbucks Coffee and lattes (like the Pumpkin Spice Latte and Thanksgiving Blend)

Common Expressions Used on Thanksgiving

Here are some expressions you’ll often hear during Thanksgiving dinner.

Common Thanksgiving ExpressionsMeaning
"Happy Thanksgiving!" wishing a joyful Thanksgiving
"I'm thankful for ..." expressing gratitude or thankfulness
"Can you pass the gravy?" asking for gravy to be passed or given to you
"I love the stuffing!" showing appreciation for the stuffing
"This pumpkin pie is delicious." complimenting or saying something good about the pie
"Let's give thanks." asking other people to give thanks or show gratitude
"It's time for the Thanksgiving parade." referring to the traditional parade
"I'm so grateful for family and friends." expressing thankfulness for loved ones
"What are you thankful for this year?" encouraging others to share their gratitude
"Let's dig in!" inviting everyone to start eating
"More mashed potatoes, please." requesting additional mashed potatoes
"Cheers to Thanksgiving!" offering a toast for the holiday
"I can't believe how much food there is." expressing amazement at the abundance of food
"Let's watch the football game." a suggestion to watch the traditional football game

Idioms About Thanksgiving

Yes, Thanksgiving has its own set of idioms, too.

Thanksgiving IdiomsMeaningExample Sentence
count your blessings an expression about being grateful for the good things in your life On Thanksgiving, we count our blessings by sharing things we're thankful for with our family and friends.
talk turkey to speak plainly and directly about a matter If you want to save money for your Thanksgiving dinner, it's time to talk turkey with your family and discuss a budget.
gravy train to enjoy abundant or effortless benefits He's on the gravy train with his new job, making more money than ever before.
in the gravy to be rich Wow, my cousin sure is in the gravy.
feast your eyes on something to admire something with great pleasure Feast your eyes on the delicious pies and turkey at the Thanksgiving table; they look amazing!
a full plate having a busy or demanding schedule During the holiday season, I have a full plate with work, shopping and preparing for Thanksgiving.
turn into a pumpkin to go home to rest or sleep After eating all the Thanksgiving food, I just want to turn into a pumpkin!
turkey shoot a situation where success or victory is easily achieved, much like shooting a turkey, which is a relatively large and slow-moving bird I'm confident that the exam will be a turkey shoot for a smart person like you.
butter up to flatter or praise excessively, often done when trying to persuade someone or create a harmonious atmosphere She decided to butter up her parents by helping with the Thanksgiving cooking to ask for their permission to go out the next day.
cold turkey to quit or stop something abruptly, often used when discussing dietary changes after a season of holiday feasting After eating too much during Thanksgiving, I decided to quit sweets cold turkey to start eating healthier.
be a turkey a weird or funny person 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.
hot potato a difficult problem or situation that no one wants to solve The presentation is becoming a hot potato, so someone needs to take charge.
wishbone a fork-shaped bone from a bird (like a turkey) that is used to make a wish After Thanksgiving dinner, we'll break the wishbone, and the person with the bigger piece gets to make a special wish.

Let’s Practice These Thanksgiving Words and Phrases

Now that you have 201 new words related to Thanksgiving, 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’ll probably be surprised that most of them are in that text, and that you can understand them!

If you want to see more examples of Thanksgiving words in action, try the language learning platform FluentU.

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

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