1. any bird of the family Columbidae, especially the smaller species with pointed tails.Compare pigeon1(def 1).
  2. a pure white member of this species, used as a symbol of innocence, gentleness, tenderness, and peace.
  3. (initial capital letter) a symbol for the Holy Ghost.
  4. an innocent, gentle, or tender person.
  5. Also called peace dove. a person, especially one in public office, who advocates peace or a conciliatory national attitude.Compare hawk1(def 4).
  6. dove color.
  7. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Columba.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dovish

Contemporary Examples of dovish

British Dictionary definitions for dovish


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


  1. 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
  2. politics a person opposed to warCompare hawk 1 (def. 3)
  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


  1. mainly US a past tense of dive
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 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