\ ˈdəv How to pronounce dove (audio) \

Definition of dove

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of numerous pigeons especially : a small wild pigeon
2 : a gentle woman or child
3 : one who takes a conciliatory attitude and advocates negotiations and compromise especially : an opponent of war — compare hawk entry 1


\ ˈdōv How to pronounce dove (audio) \

Definition of dove (Entry 2 of 2)

past tense of dive

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Other Words from dove


dovish \ ˈdə-​vish How to pronounce dove (audio) \ adjective
dovishness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dove

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Examples of dove in a Sentence

Noun The President sided with the doves and worked to avoid war. the doves were in favor of using the surplus to improve the nation's schools and not its weapons systems
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The rail station that once lurked beneath all of this was replaced with an above-ground cathedral of sorts – a soaring structure known as the Oculus, meant to resemble a dove leaving a child's hands. CBS News, 12 Sep. 2021 The properties include several TPWD wildlife management areas and more than 100 private lands leases available for hunting dove and small game. Matt Williams, Dallas News, 14 Aug. 2021 Natalia Kuikka ripped a shot at goal in the third minute, racing up the right flank and firing from long range, but Courage goalkeeper Casey Murphy dove and guided the ball wide with both hands. Portland Timbers And Thorns Fc, oregonlive, 6 Aug. 2021 At her party, Spear spent time with close relatives and was honored with a dove release, according to SWNS. Marisa Schultz, Fox News, 8 Aug. 2021 These windows are designed for new construction projects, and available in 46 exterior colors including white, cottage red, and signature dove grey. Erica Reagle, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 Aug. 2021 The dove symbol has long held a place of importance for the century-year-old Schiaparelli brand. Eliza Huber,, 23 July 2021 From the Fourth of July through Labor Day, the campaign will likely include community events such as peace marches, low-rider cruises, street memorials and a dove release with survivors of gun violence, Bowser said. Kristina Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 June 2021 But the message behind Lady Gaga's bold brooch with a dove holding an olive branch was clear. Olivia Hosken, Town & Country, 29 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dove.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dove


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dove


Middle English duve, douve, dowe, probably going back to Old English *dūfe and a shortened form *dufe, going back to Germanic *dūƀōn- (whence also Old Frisian dūwe "dove," Old Saxon dūƀa, Middle Dutch duve, Old High German tūba, Old Icelandic dúfa, Gothic -dubo, in hraiwadubo "turtledove"), of uncertain origin

Note: The modern English outcome with [ʌ] presupposes shortening of (or variation with) a Middle English form with ọ̄, itself presupposing Old English ŭ affected by Middle English open-syllable lengthening. Middle English spellings such as douve, however, would seem to require an Old English long vowel, as do the Germanic cognates. These issues were pointed out by E. J. Dobson (English Pronunciation, 1500-1700, 2. edition, Oxford, 1968, p. 514), who follows the Oxford English Dictionary's suggestion that the noun is related to Old English dūfan "to dive, plunge (into a liquid)" (see dive entry 1) and that the forms with long and short u reflect different ablaut grades of dūfan (a class II strong verb). Essentially the same solution, without the discussion of the English details, is proposed by G. Kroonen (Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic, Brill, 2013). The difficulty with this hypothesis is that the noun in Germanic languages uniformly means "dove, pigeon," not an aquatic bird. Another proposal associates *dūƀōn- with the Celtic etymon of Old Irish dub "dark, black," Old Welsh dub, Welsh du, on the assumption that a dove is "the dark bird." But such a source, usually derived, together with Germanic *dauƀa- "deaf, senseless" (see deaf) and Greek typhlós "blind, dark," from Indo-European *dhubh-, *dheu̯bh-, could not regularly produce a long u. The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, the etymological successor to the Oxford English Dictionary, abandons the dive connection and says simply "presumed to be imitative of the bird's note."

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The first known use of dove was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dove.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for dove



English Language Learners Definition of dove

: a small wild bird that is related to pigeons
: a person who does not want war and does want peace


\ ˈdəv How to pronounce dove (audio) \

Kids Definition of dove

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a bird that is related to the pigeon but usually of somewhat smaller size


Kids Definition of dove (Entry 2 of 2)

past tense and past participle of dive

More from Merriam-Webster on dove

Nglish: Translation of dove for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dove for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about dove


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