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Why are turtle doves called turtle doves?


1 Answer

'Turtle dove' used to be just 'turtle' in Old English. The word comes from Latin 'turtur,' which was a reduplicated form imitative of the bird's coo. Hence, the name is onomatopoeic in nature, just as for killdeers and whippoorwills. The actual phrase 'turtle-dove' comes from the 1300s.

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