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ter·cel(tûr′səl) also tier·cel (tîr′səl)
A male falcon or hawk, especially a peregrine falcon or gyrfalcon.
[Middle English, from Old French terçuel, from Vulgar Latin *tertiōlus, diminutive of Latin tertius, third (perhaps because the third egg in every clutch was thought to hatch into a male, or because male hawks were said to be a third smaller than females); see trei- in Indo-European roots.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Falconry) 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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
also terce•let(ˈtɜrs lɪt)
the male of a hawk, esp. of a gyrfalcon or peregrine.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Middle French terçuel < Vulgar Latin *tertiolus= Latin terti(us) third + -olus -ole1; probably so called because the male is about one third smaller than the female]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.