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[dot-er-uh l] /ˈdɒt ər əl/
any of several plovers usually inhabiting upland areas, especially Eudromias morinellus, of Europe and Asia.
British Dialect. a silly, stupid person, especially one who is easily duped.
Also, dottrel
[do-truh l] /ˈdɒ trəl/ (Show IPA)
Origin of dotterel
late Middle English
First recorded in 1400-50, dotterel is from the late Middle English word dotrelle. See dote, -rel Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for dotterel
Historical Examples
  • The dotterel is one of the most interesting of British birds.

    Poachers and Poaching John Watson
  • The dotterel (Pluvialis morinellus) is a little larger than a Blackbird.

    Reptiles and Birds Louis Figuier
  • In short, whatever the fowler does, the dotterel does the same.

  • Such a character as dotterel is hardly made to allude to the pocula coronata of the Romans.

  • Last night we had dotterel and sandpipers for dinner, this morning greenshanks, which are very good birds indeed.

    Three in Norway James Arthur Lees
  • One day I managed to get six brace of ptarmigan and some dotterel—and very pretty birds they were.

  • Neither do the dotterel and the ring-ouzel, the latter in song so mellow, both moving on speedily into the hilly districts.


    Leo H. (Leo Hartley) Grindon
  • The Johnnie Faws moved restlessly up and down the village; but most of them gathered at the dotterel, though they drank nothing.

    Back o' the Moon Oliver Onions
  • dotterel (Eudromias morinellus), a species of plover which breeds in the north of Europe, and returns to the south for the winter.

  • A dotterel goes plaintively piping over the stones, and the "cheep, cheep," of the awakening ling-birds rises from every brae.

British Dictionary definitions for dotterel


a rare Eurasian plover, Eudromias morinellus, with reddish-brown underparts and white bands around the head and neck
(Austral) any similar and related bird, esp of the genus Charadrius
(dialect) a person who is foolish or easily duped
Word Origin
C15 dotrelle; see dote
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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