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[tur-tl-duhv] /ˈtɜr tlˌdʌv/
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.
a sweetheart or beloved mate.
Origin of turtledove
1250-1300; Middle English turtildove, equivalent to turtil turtle2 + dove dove1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for turtledoves
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She had much to say of dew and roses, turtledoves and the arrows of Cupid.

  • Yet I will not answer for it that we shall spend our life like a pair of turtledoves.

  • They were turned to turtledoves, and flew away with drooping wings.

    The Golden Maiden A. G. Seklemian
  • I have watched you, and I own a prettier pair of turtledoves I never saw.

    The Woman-Hater Charles Reade
  • Soon three turtledoves came from the sky flapping their wings and perched gently on the border of the pond.

    The Golden Maiden A. G. Seklemian
  • turtledoves are fairly common in Cheshire, but there are many more in some years than in others.

    In a Cheshire Garden Geoffrey Egerton-Warburton
  • I thought that you never left your adored wife; everybody speaks of you as a pair of turtledoves.

  • She had secretly offered up her humble sacrifice—her pair of turtledoves; and she knew not that her secret was known.

  • Well, perhaps we can compensate them for it, and allow these turtledoves to make the last trip—the trip to the stake—together.

    Henry VIII And His Court Louise Muhlbach
British Dictionary definitions for turtledoves


any of several Old World doves of the genus Streptopelia, having a brown plumage with speckled wings and a long dark tail
a gentle or loving person
Word Origin
see turtle²
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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Slang definitions & phrases for turtledoves



A pair of sweethearts (1940s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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