Main definitions of dove in English

: dove1dove2


Pronunciation /dəv/

Translate dove into Spanish


  • 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

    ‘Nestling pigeons and doves grow rapidly because of the crop-milk.’
    • ‘I also see hornbills pass up small-fruited figs that would draw doves and pigeons in by the hundreds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Since the mid-1800s, the dodo has been classified as part of the family that includes pigeons and doves.’
    • ‘The largest of Washington's pigeons and doves, it is all gray, with a lighter gray, banded tail.’
    • ‘I've seen sparrows, dirty pigeons, doves, screeching seagulls, nasty crows and the occasional hawk.’
    • ‘It would be more symbolic, both dove and pigeon being birds with many associations.’
    • ‘In most areas, doves establish year-round feeding territories that are defended against conspecifics.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are many wild birds that don't use nestboxes, such as doves, cardinals, orioles, hummingbirds, just to name a few.’
    • ‘Most doves prefer feeding on the ground, and the Eurasian collared dove in no exception.’
    • ‘Such species as love birds, parrots and doves are spending more time near the water trough and less on picking for food.’
    • ‘Not all like the wings of a bird, not even a delicate dove, but much more gorgeous.’
    • ‘Chickadees, cardinals, doves, and robins came and went, and a grackle made a racket in the woods.’
    • ‘The director, Whitman, was an experimental geneticist and spent years in the study of hybrid doves and pigeons.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Three million migratory bird hunters spent 29 million days hunting for birds such as doves and ducks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Of course, the adaptable sparrows, starlings, and doves aren't going anywhere; they never do.’
  • 2A person who advocates peaceful or conciliatory policies, especially in foreign affairs.

    Compare with hawk (sense 2 of the noun)

    ‘he was the cabinet's leading dove, the only minister to advocate peace talks’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many Labour backbenchers regard them as the doves in the Cabinet most capable of leading anti-war dissent.’
    • ‘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

    (also Dove)
    (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.

Main definitions of dove in English

: dove1dove2


Pronunciation /dōv/ /doʊv/

Translate dove into Spanish


  • North American past of dive