Origin of dove

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 formsdove·like, dov·ish, adjectivedov·ish·ness, noun




a simple past tense of dive.




Arthur,1880–1946, U.S. painter.
Rita,born 1952, U.S. poet and educator: U.S. poet laureate 1993.



verb (used without object), dived or dove, dived, div·ing.

to plunge into water, especially headfirst.
to go below the surface of the water, as a submarine.
to plunge, fall, or descend through the air, into the earth, etc.: The acrobats dived into nets.
Aeronautics. (of an airplane) to descend rapidly.
to penetrate suddenly into something, as with the hand: to dive into one's purse.
to dart: to dive into a doorway.
to enter deeply or plunge into a subject, activity, etc.

verb (used with object), dived or dove, dived, div·ing.

to cause to plunge, submerge, or descend.
to insert quickly; plunge: He dived his hand into his pocket.


an act or instance of diving.
a jump or plunge into water, especially in a prescribed way from a diving board.
the vertical or nearly vertical descent of an airplane at a speed surpassing the possible speed of the same plane in level flight.
a submerging, as of a submarine or skindiver.
a dash, plunge, or lunge, as if throwing oneself at or into something: He made a dive for the football.
a sudden or sharp decline, as in stock prices.
Informal. a dingy or disreputable bar or nightclub.
Boxing. a false show of being knocked out, usually in a bout whose result has been prearranged: to take a dive in an early round.

Origin of dive

before 900; Middle English diven to dive, dip, Old English dȳfan to dip (causative of dūfan to dive, sink); cognate with Old Norse dȳfa dip, German taufen to baptize; akin to dip1
Related formspost·dive, adjectivepre·dive, adjectiveun·der·dive, nounun·der·dive, verb (used without object), un·der·dived or un·der·dove, un·der·dived, un·der·div·ing.

Usage note

Both dived and dove are standard as the past tense of dive. Dived, historically the older form, is somewhat more common in edited writing, but dove occurs there so frequently that it also must be considered standard: The rescuer dove into 20 feet of icy water. Dove is an Americanism that probably developed by analogy with alternations like drive, drove and ride, rode. It is the more common form in speech in the northern United States and in Canada, and its use seems to be spreading. The past participle of dive is always dived. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dove

Contemporary Examples of dove

Historical Examples of dove

  • The same that dove with the young woman under the steamboat paddles.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • Again she dove and with strong strokes headed for the shore.

    The Monster Men

    Edgar Rice Burroughs

  • I begin to think you have a little of the wisdom of the dove too.

  • One day may be grey like steel, and another grey like dove's plumage.

    Alarms and Discursions

    G. K. Chesterton

  • He was not quarrelsome, though, like the sparrow; but peaceful, like the dove.

British Dictionary definitions for dove




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 pigeonsRelated adjective: columbine
politics a person opposed to warCompare hawk 1 (def. 3)
a gentle or innocent person: used as a term of endearment
  1. a greyish-brown colour
  2. (as adjective)dove walls
Derived Formsdovelike, adjectivedovish, adjective

Word Origin for dove

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



the Dove Christianity a manifestation of the Holy Spirit (John 1:32)


verb dives, diving or dived or US dove or dived (mainly intr)

to plunge headfirst into water
(of a submarine, swimmer, etc) to submerge under water
(also tr) to fly (an aircraft) in a steep nose-down descending path, or (of an aircraft) to fly in such a path
to rush, go, or reach quickly, as in a headlong plungehe dived for the ball
(also tr; foll by in or into) to dip or put (one's hand) quickly or forcefully (into)to dive into one's pocket
(usually foll by in or into) to involve oneself (in something), as in eating food
soccer slang (of a footballer) to pretend to have been tripped or impeded by an opposing player in order to win a free kick or penalty


a headlong plunge into water, esp one of several formalized movements executed as a sport
an act or instance of diving
a steep nose-down descent of an aircraft
slang a disreputable or seedy bar or club
boxing slang the act of a boxer pretending to be knocked down or outhe took a dive in the fourth round
soccer slang the act of a player pretending to have been tripped or impeded

Word Origin for dive

Old English dӯfan; related to Old Norse dӯfa to dip, Frisian dīvi; see deep, dip
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

Word Origin and History for dove

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.).



13c., from Old English dufan "to dive, duck, sink" (intransitive, class II strong verb; past tense deaf, past participle dofen) and dyfan "to dip, submerge" (weak, transitive), from Proto-Germanic *dubijanan, from PIE *dheub- (see deep). Past tense dove is a later formation, perhaps on analogy of drive/drove. Related: Diving. Dive bomber attested by 1939.



c.1700, from dive (v.). Sense of "disreputable bar" is first recorded American English 1871, perhaps because they were usually in basements, and going into one was both a literal and figurative "diving."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper