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  1. any of several small to medium-sized Old World doves of the genus Streptopelia, especially S. turtur, of Europe, having a long, graduated tail: noted for its soft, cooing call.
  2. mourning dove.
  3. a sweetheart or beloved mate.
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Origin of turtledove

1250–1300; Middle English turtildove, equivalent to turtil turtle2 + dove dove1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for turtledoves


  1. any of several Old World doves of the genus Streptopelia, having a brown plumage with speckled wings and a long dark tail
  2. a gentle or loving person
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Word Origin

see turtle ²
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