[tur-suh l]

noun Falconry.

the male of a hawk, especially of a gyrfalcon or peregrine.

Also terce·let [turs-lit] /ˈtɜrs lɪt/, tiercel.

Origin of tercel

1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French terçuel < Vulgar Latin *tertiolus, equivalent to Latin terti(us) third + -olus -ole1; probably so called because the male is about one third smaller than the female
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Historical Examples of tercel

British Dictionary definitions for tercel




a male falcon or hawk, esp as used in falconry

Word Origin for tercel

C14: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin tertiolus (unattested), from Latin tertius third, referring to the tradition that only one egg in three hatched a male chick
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

Word Origin and History for tercel

"male falcon," late 14c., from Old French tercel (c.1200), from Medieval Latin tertiolus, from Latin tertius "third, a third," from root of tres "three" (see three). Various theories as to why it is called this; one says it's because the males are a third smaller than the females, another because a third egg in the nest (smaller than the other two) is believed always to produce a male bird.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper