tercelet

tercel

[tur-suhl]
noun Falconry.
the male of a hawk, especially of a gyrfalcon or peregrine.
Also, tercelet [turs-lit] , tiercel.


Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French terçuel < Vulgar Latin *tertiolus, equivalent to Latin terti(us) third + -olus -ole1; probably so called because the male is about one third smaller than the female

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World English Dictionary
tercel or tiercel (ˈtɜːsəl)
 
n
a male falcon or hawk, esp as used in falconry
 
[C14: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin tertiolus (unattested), from Latin tertius third, referring to the tradition that only one egg in three hatched a male chick]
 
tiercel or tiercel
 
n
 
[C14: from Old French, from Vulgar Latin tertiolus (unattested), from Latin tertius third, referring to the tradition that only one egg in three hatched a male chick]

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Word Origin & History

tercel
"male falcon," c.1381, from O.Fr. tercel (c.1200), from M.L. tertiolus, from L. tertius "third." Various theories as to why it is called this; one says it's because the males are a third smaller than the females, another because a third egg in the nest (smaller than the other two) is believed always
to produce a male bird.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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