turn·​stone | \ ˈtərn-ˌstōn How to pronounce turnstone (audio) \

Definition of turnstone

: either of two shorebirds (genus Arenaria) of the sandpiper family:
a : a bird (A. interpres) of worldwide distribution that has black and chestnut upperparts and a black breast
b : a North American bird (A. melanocephala) with black upperparts and breast

Illustration of turnstone

Illustration of turnstone

Examples of turnstone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Allen’s Pond Sanctuary in Westport: There were three ruddy turnstones, a stilt sandpiper, three white-rumped sandpipers, two little blue herons, and 14 glossy ibises. BostonGlobe.com, "Bird sightings across the region," 11 Aug. 2019 At Gooseberry Neck, there were 84 black scoters, three ruddy turnstones, three roseate terns, a great shearwater, a Northern gannet, two cliff swallows, and two orchard orioles. BostonGlobe.com, "Bird sightings across the region," 30 June 2019 In this May 22, 2018 photo, ruddy turnstones, larger birds, and semipalmated sandpipers walk near the shoreline at Kimbles Beach, Middle Township NJ. Washington Post, "Bird flu hot spot: Scientists track virus in huge migration," 28 June 2018 That day, six species of shorebird were present; ruddy turnstone, semipalmated plover, buff-breasted sandpiper, sanderling and white-rumped sandpiper were all tallied. Taylor Piephoff, charlotteobserver, "Look what the hurricane blew in," 22 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'turnstone.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of turnstone

circa 1674, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for turnstone

from a habit of turning over stones to find food

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Time Traveler for turnstone

Time Traveler

The first known use of turnstone was circa 1674

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Cite this Entry

“Turnstone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turnstone. Accessed 28 Nov. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on turnstone

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about turnstone

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