• synonyms


  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

Examples from the Web for turtledove

Historical Examples

  • "I am going to finish this turtledove first, though," said Tabea gayly.


    Edward Eggleston

  • The cause or causes of the increase of the turtledove are not far to seek.

  • Besides the turtledove there is no other bird that is the harbinger of good luck.

    The Manbos of Mindano

    John M. Garvan

  • Thy cheeks are beautiful as the turtledove's, thy neck as jewels.

  • The turtledove, though common in the south of England, is a migratory bird, and in these parts not a constant visitor.

British Dictionary definitions for turtledove


  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