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[dot-er-uh l] /ˈdɒt ər əl/
any of several plovers usually inhabiting upland areas, especially Eudromias morinellus, of Europe and Asia.
British Dialect. a silly, stupid person, especially one who is easily duped.
Also, dottrel
[do-truh l] /ˈdɒ trəl/ (Show IPA)
Origin of dotterel
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English dotrelle. See dote, -rel Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dotterel
Historical Examples
  • Such a character as dotterel is hardly made to allude to the pocula coronata of the Romans.

  • The dotterel (Pluvialis morinellus) is a little larger than a Blackbird.

    Reptiles and Birds Louis Figuier
  • The resemblance of the dotterel's egg to a pebble is no greater than the resemblance between many eggs laid in nests and pebbles.

    Field and Hedgerow Richard Jefferies
  • In short, whatever the fowler does, the dotterel does the same.

  • The thin pipe of the dotterel fell into the darkness beyond the shallows where the sea-mist lay.

  • Neither do the dotterel and the ring-ouzel, the latter in song so mellow, both moving on speedily into the hilly districts.

    Lancashire Leo H. (Leo Hartley) Grindon
  • One day I managed to get six brace of ptarmigan and some dotterel—and very pretty birds they were.

  • The Johnnie Faws moved restlessly up and down the village; but most of them gathered at the dotterel, though they drank nothing.

    Back o' the Moon Oliver Onions
  • We have seen eggs of the dotterel that had been taken on the Cumberland mountains in June.

  • A dotterel goes plaintively piping over the stones, and the "cheep, cheep," of the awakening ling-birds rises from every brae.

British Dictionary definitions for dotterel


a rare Eurasian plover, Eudromias morinellus, with reddish-brown underparts and white bands around the head and neck
(Austral) any similar and related bird, esp of the genus Charadrius
(dialect) a person who is foolish or easily duped
Word Origin
C15 dotrelle; see dote
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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