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See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
  1. any shorebird of the genus Arenaria, characterized by the habit of turning over stones in search of food.
  2. British. ruddy turnstone.

Origin of turnstone

First recorded in 1665–75; turn + stone
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for turnstone

Historical Examples

  • The Turnstone is a restless 88 little creature, ever on the run in quest of food.

    British Sea Birds

    Charles Dixon

  • This peculiarity has gained for the Turnstone its trivial name.

    British Sea Birds

    Charles Dixon

  • The Turnstone changes its haunts but little during the breeding season.

    British Sea Birds

    Charles Dixon

  • The stout, short-legged Turnstone is the most cosmopolitan of birds.

    An Australian Bird Book

    John Albert Leach

  • The Turnstone belongs to a fourth family, but it is a very small one.

    Citizen Bird</p>

    Mabel Osgood Wright and Elliott Coues

British Dictionary definitions for turnstone


  1. either of two shore birds of the genus Arenaria, esp A. interpres (ruddy turnstone). They are related and similar to plovers and sandpipers

Word Origin

C17: so called because it turns over stones in search of food
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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