Definition of turtle dove in English:

turtle dove


  • A small Old World dove with a soft purring call, noted for the apparent affection shown for its mate.

    • ‘That was before I realised what they were hunting - turtle doves, finches, robins, wading birds, whatever - considering it their democratic right to shoot, trap and eat anything that flies, often regardless of their protected status.’
    • ‘When viewed from the underside, the collared dove appears grayer than a turtle dove, with black visible on the tail.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, interrupting the shadow play performance was the bellowing sound of a camel, the soft cooing of a turtle dove and the neighing of a horse.’
    • ‘The agency slaughtered on Tuesday 45 pigeons, turtle doves and doves, including the infected ones, to prevent the virus from spreading.’
    • ‘The rufous turtle dove, which is more commonly found in Asia, often winters in Scandinavia, but its visits to Britain are rare.’
    • ‘Staying on the holiday shopping theme, just how much do three French hens, a couple of turtle doves, or five gold rings actually cost?’
    • ‘Finally, it was time for me to take my turtle dove and depart.’
    • ‘We're envisaging matching white suits, turtle doves, and a minimalist gazebo.’
    • ‘The turtle dove, Streptopelia turtur, is smaller than the others and has the most melodious song.’
    • ‘The Red List also features a disturbingly high number of formerly common farmland birds which are rapidly declining: tree sparrow, grey partridge, spotted flycatcher, song thrush, skylark, linnet and turtle dove.’
    • ‘Yes, like the turtle dove she had fled, though very reluctantly and was now haunted by a seductive image.’
    • ‘All told, the swans, geese, calling birds, French hens, turtle doves, and partridges cost over $4,100, representing about 25 percent of the overall Index.’
    • ‘If money is an issue we will go halves on the turtle doves with you!’
    • ‘Two turtle doves sat in a nest and sang sweet love to one another.’
    • ‘And it doesn't tell us much about the possible positive consequences of climate change (unless you count expansion in the ranges of turtle doves and nuthatches).’
    • ‘The fancy dress theme of the Twelve Days of Christmas produced gold rings, calling birds, French hens, turtle doves, maids-a-milking and ladies dancing among the imaginative costumes.’
    • ‘I long ago lost a hound, a bay horse, and a turtle dove, and am still on their trail.’
    • ‘Archaeologists in Guangzhou of Guangdong Province have uncovered a stick with a turtle dove at the top which was made more than 2000 years ago.’
    • ‘Every week one particular turtle dove joins me outside, settling down to sleep on a nearby fence pole while I read and think in the garden.’
    • ‘Tree sparrow numbers have declined by 95 per cent since 1970, corn buntings by 85 per cent, turtle doves by 70 per cent and skylarks by 52 per cent.’


Middle English: turtle from Old English turtla, turtle ‘turtle dove’ (from Latin turtur, of imitative origin).


turtle dove

/ˈtəːrtl dʌv/