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1A stout seed- or fruit-eating bird with a small head, short legs, and a cooing voice, typically having grey and white plumage.See also dove
- ‘This diet mimics the composition of crop milk in white Carneaux pigeons, Columbia livia, and the diet of older squabs.’
- ‘I looked up to see gigantic white pigeons in the treetops.’
- ‘I also see hornbills pass up small - fruited figs that would draw doves and pigeons in by the hundreds.’
- ‘Hugo was walking hand in hand with Lindsay as they strolled in the beautiful park; the white pigeons flew around them… he was in heaven!’
- ‘They release white pigeons at the end of every church service.’
- ‘Their short breeding cycle allows pigeons and doves to have more broods to compensate for their small brood sizes and relatively high rates of predation.’
- ‘When she turned back Dagmar was gone, a grey pigeon sat on the window sill, high above.’
- ‘After lunch, we walked round the spit and swam in a sea like silk, with only a sea eagle and a few white Torres Strait pigeons for company.’
- ‘He'd pounce too fast and fall short of the pigeon.’
- ‘In 1990, when production of all fruits was relatively poor, the lowest number of pigeons bred for the shortest period of time.’
- ‘A typical company might charge $250 or more to release 12 white pigeons.’
- ‘Balloons and 55 white pigeons were launched by radio stations all over the country on the eve of last Friday's concert.’
- ‘Stewart screamed as his father hauled him up, thrashed around with arms to protect his face when a white pigeon suddenly exploded from below him and beat its way into the safe air.’
- ‘Even bigger flocks of white pigeons are a mild distraction; we quickly followed a small crowd that headed for a nearby pond.’
- ‘The place even sold white pigeons as ‘pets'.’
- ‘In one, a white pigeon is perched on a hand round which a serpent, ready to strike, has wound itself.’
- 1.1A pigeon descended from the wild rock dove, kept for racing, showing, and carrying messages, and common as a feral bird in towns.
- ‘It also eats birds such as magpies and pigeons, rodents, wild boar and young deer.’
- ‘He uses homing pigeons to carry messages back home.’
- ‘Recently, global positioning systems have become small and light enough to be carried by pigeons.’
- ‘DNA extracted from specimens of extinct animals has already been used to show that the Mauritian dodo is a close cousin to the common pigeon.’
- ‘Pigeon racing is also a common pass-time and racing pigeons can sell for as much as $350 000.’
- ‘Until recently, winter nesting in British birds has been very rare beyond a handful of species that include the wood pigeon, feral pigeon, and collared dove.’
- ‘The college campus will have pigeons flying and carrying love letters and short messages.’
- ‘Descended from wild rock doves, homing pigeons can locate their lofts, or roosts, even when released several thousand miles away.’
- ‘Suspicions that new and undetectable drugs are being used have grown after samples from scores of racing pigeons in Belgium disappeared.’
- ‘On a less frantic note, while we go to a rooftop in Rome, dozens of doves, pigeons, were released carrying messages of hope and peace.’
- ‘So the settlers looked to the land to provide for them, curlews, pigeons and other forest birds along with the occasional wild pig.’
- ‘Other life included a family of German walkers, a mountain biker, and a flock of racing pigeons that skimmed the heather to mitigate a strong south-westerly.’
- ‘She revealed that pigeons in certain town centre areas are being fed raw pieces of meat, pies and pasties, cakes, and full loaves of bread.’
- ‘Its been estimated by some pigeon fanciers that there as many as 500 wild pigeons in the town centre.’
- ‘There have been four incidents involving racing pigeons at the airport since 2002, two involving planes landing and two taking off.’
- ‘Birds such as the homing pigeon comprise most of the short list.’
- ‘However, in areas where rabbits are scarce, feral cats will prey largely on wild pigeons and native animals.’
- ‘Presently it is the abode of wild pigeons, bats, goats, dogs, pigs etc.’
- ‘And lots of animals, from coyotes to common pigeons, mate for life.’
- ‘Attacks by birds of prey on Scotland's flocks of racing pigeons are to be officially investigated for the first time.’
2North American informal A gullible person, especially someone swindled in gambling or the victim of a confidence trick.
- ‘At the end of the day, one has to admit that most would-be megastars, the pigeons in this behavioral con game, are complicit in their deception.’
- ‘In Trafalgar Square, he meets up with Bugsy, a fat, smelly, cheeky con-man pigeon, who ends up volunteering for the war effort by mistake.’
- ‘The pigeon is the gaming commission who doesn't recognize the gambler's need for excitement and agrees to bar them from casinos.’
3military slang An aircraft from one's own side.
Late Middle English: from Old French pijon, denoting a young bird, especially a young dove, from an alteration of late Latin pipio(n-), young cheeping bird of imitative origin.
1archaic spelling of pidgin
- ‘People who first spoke pigeon languages (e.g. Creole) which were just a combination of other languages had kids that incorporated grammar and usage into the language that the parents never used or taught.’
- ‘My black and white teachers alike would vehemently criticize and say I spoke "pigeon language" or broken English.’
- ‘They spent two weeks there practising the local language - a pigeon English called Krio - and lazing on the beaches.’
- ‘He spoke pigeon English, and would tell me stories often consisting of as many gestures as words.’
- ‘To make it even better, this guy only spoke French and Paul spoke pigeon French.’
2British informal A person's particular responsibility or business.‘Hermia will have to tell them first, it's her pigeon’
- ‘"He'll know what to do, and in any case, it's his pigeon to whack out justice."’
- ‘Whatever has been ages ago - it's not my pigeon.’
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