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
- ‘I also see hornbills pass up small-fruited figs that would draw doves and pigeons in by the hundreds.’
- ‘The largest of Washington's pigeons and doves, it is all gray, with a lighter gray, banded tail.’
- ‘In most areas, doves establish year-round feeding territories that are defended against conspecifics.’
- ‘Such species as love birds, parrots and doves are spending more time near the water trough and less on picking for food.’
- ‘Chickadees, cardinals, doves, and robins came and went, and a grackle made a racket in the woods.’
- ‘Three million migratory bird hunters spent 29 million days hunting for birds such as doves and ducks.’
- ‘It would be more symbolic, both dove and pigeon being birds with many associations.’
- ‘Of course, the adaptable sparrows, starlings, and doves aren't going anywhere; they never do.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘I've seen sparrows, dirty pigeons, doves, screeching seagulls, nasty crows and the occasional hawk.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Most doves prefer feeding on the ground, and the Eurasian collared dove in no exception.’
- ‘Since the mid-1800s, the dodo has been classified as part of the family that includes pigeons and doves.’
- ‘There are many wild birds that don't use nestboxes, such as doves, cardinals, orioles, hummingbirds, just to name a few.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Nestling pigeons and doves grow rapidly because of the crop-milk.’
- ‘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.’
2A person who advocates peaceful or conciliatory policies, especially in foreign affairs.‘he was the cabinet's leading dove, the only minister to advocate peace talks’Compare with hawk (sense 2 of the noun)
- ‘We at Dimpler Towers are thinking that siding with the doves over policy may not be such a bad idea.’
- ‘As well as claiming a growing international consensus for action, he appears to have silenced - albeit temporarily - the doves in his own Cabinet.’
- ‘Many Labour backbenchers regard them as the doves in the Cabinet most capable of leading anti-war dissent.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The comments of men like them represent a serious rift in the Orange Order, separating the doves from the hawks.’
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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