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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for turtledoves

Contemporary Examples of turtledoves

  • Basil, cucumber, mangoes, the cooing of turtledoves on torrid afternoons, the screech of buses coming to a sudden halt.

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    André Aciman: How I Write

    Noah Charney

    November 28, 2012

Historical Examples of turtledoves

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 for turtledove

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