One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A stocky seed- or fruit-eating bird with a small head, short legs, and a cooing voice. Doves are generally smaller and more delicate than pigeons, but many kinds have been given both names.
Family Columbidae: numerous genera and species; white doves are a variety of the domestic pigeon
- ‘Most doves prefer feeding on the ground, and the Eurasian collared dove in no exception.’
- ‘Three million migratory bird hunters spent 29 million days hunting for birds such as doves and ducks.’
- ‘I also see hornbills pass up small-fruited figs that would draw doves and pigeons in by the hundreds.’
- ‘Of course, the adaptable sparrows, starlings, and doves aren't going anywhere; they never do.’
- ‘Since the mid-1800s, the dodo has been classified as part of the family that includes pigeons and doves.’
- ‘Nestling pigeons and doves grow rapidly because of the crop-milk.’
- ‘The largest of Washington's pigeons and doves, it is all gray, with a lighter gray, banded tail.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The Mourning Dove is the most slender of Washington's pigeons and doves.’
- ‘Many birds feed comfortably on a platform, especially the sparrows, juncos, towhees and doves that are referred to as ground feeders.’
- ‘I've seen sparrows, dirty pigeons, doves, screeching seagulls, nasty crows and the occasional hawk.’
- ‘If you want to see a war, come between the hours of 6 and 9 in the morning when the doves and pigeons try to eat the grapes.’
- ‘Chickadees, cardinals, doves, and robins came and went, and a grackle made a racket in the woods.’
- ‘If it is dense enough, shrubbery can provide a home to ground-nesting birds such as doves and thrushes as well as small mammals like rabbits.’
- ‘Such species as love birds, parrots and doves are spending more time near the water trough and less on picking for food.’
- ‘In most areas, doves establish year-round feeding territories that are defended against conspecifics.’
- ‘It would be more symbolic, both dove and pigeon being birds with many associations.’
- ‘Not all like the wings of a bird, not even a delicate dove, but much more gorgeous.’
- ‘The director, Whitman, was an experimental geneticist and spent years in the study of hybrid doves and pigeons.’
- ‘There are many wild birds that don't use nestboxes, such as doves, cardinals, orioles, hummingbirds, just to name a few.’
2A person who advocates peaceful or conciliatory policies, especially in foreign affairs.Compare with hawk (sense 2 of the noun)
- ‘The comments of men like them represent a serious rift in the Orange Order, separating the doves from the hawks.’
- ‘Many Labour backbenchers regard them as the doves in the Cabinet most capable of leading anti-war dissent.’
- ‘We at Dimpler Towers are thinking that siding with the doves over policy may not be such a bad idea.’
- ‘But doubts go all the way up to doves inside his cabinet, prompting fears of the biggest split in the Labour movement since the formation of the SDP.’
- ‘The doves argue that following the UN track to the letter would help to build international support for war.’
- ‘A complicating factor is hawks and doves in the cabinet who differ on approach.’
- ‘As well as claiming a growing international consensus for action, he appears to have silenced - albeit temporarily - the doves in his own Cabinet.’
3(in Christian art and poetry) the Holy Spirit (as represented in John 1:32).
- ‘The story of Catherine is that she was put in prison, where she was fed by a Dove and saw a vision of Christ.’
Middle English: from Old Norse dúfa.
- past of dive
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