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[duhv] /dʌv/
any bird of the family Columbidae, especially the smaller species with pointed tails.
Compare pigeon1 (def 1).
a pure white member of this species, used as a symbol of innocence, gentleness, tenderness, and peace.
(initial capital letter) a symbol for the Holy Ghost.
an innocent, gentle, or tender person.
Also called peace dove. a person, especially one in public office, who advocates peace or a conciliatory national attitude.
Compare hawk1 (def 4).
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Columba.
Origin of dove1
1150-1200; Middle English; Old English dūfe- (in dūfedoppa dip-diver); cognate with Dutch duif, German Taube, Old Norse dūfa, Gothic dūbo, originally a diver
Related forms
dovelike, dovish, adjective
dovishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for dovish


any of various birds of the family Columbidae, having a heavy body, small head, short legs, and long pointed wings: order Columbiformes. They are typically smaller than pigeons related adjective columbine
(politics) a person opposed to war Compare hawk1 (sense 3)
a gentle or innocent person: used as a term of endearment
  1. a greyish-brown colour
  2. (as adjective): dove walls
Derived Forms
dovelike, adjective
dovish, adjective
Word Origin
Old English dūfe (unattested except as a feminine proper name); related to Old Saxon dūbva, Old High German tūba


(mainly US) a past tense of dive


(Christianity) the Dove, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit (John 1:32)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dovish



probably from Old English dufe- (found only in compounds), from Proto-Germanic *dubon (cf. Old Saxon duba, Old Norse dufa, Swedish duva, Middle Dutch duve, Dutch duif, Old High German tuba, German Taube, Gothic -dubo), perhaps related to words for "dive," in reference to its flight.

Originally applied to all pigeons, now mostly restricted to the turtle dove. A symbol of gentleness from early Christian times, also of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gen. viii:8-12), and of peace and deliverance from anxiety; political meaning "person who advocates peace" attested by 1917, from the Christian dove of peace.


past tense of dive (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dovish



Tending to advocate peace over war; irenic: more and more room for dovish interpretations (1960s+)



  1. Dear one; honey; love: There at once, my dove (1596+)
  2. A person who advocates peace and nonviolence; an irenic soul (1962+)

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The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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dovish in the Bible

In their wild state doves generally build their nests in the clefts of rocks, but when domesticated "dove-cots" are prepared for them (Cant. 2:14; Jer. 48:28; Isa. 60:8). The dove was placed on the standards of the Assyrians and Babylonians in honour, it is supposed, of Semiramis (Jer. 25:38; Vulg., "fierceness of the dove;" comp. Jer. 46:16; 50:16). Doves and turtle-doves were the only birds that could be offered in sacrifice, as they were clean according to the Mosaic law (Ge. 15:9; Lev. 5:7; 12:6; Luke 2:24). The dove was the harbinger of peace to Noah (Gen. 8:8, 10). It is often mentioned as the emblem of purity (Ps. 68:13). It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2; Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32); also of tender and devoted affection (Cant. 1:15; 2:14). David in his distress wished that he had the wings of a dove, that he might fly away and be at rest (Ps. 55:6-8). There is a species of dove found at Damascus "whose feathers, all except the wings, are literally as yellow as gold" (68:13).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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