dove·​cote ˈdəv-ˌkōt How to pronounce dovecote (audio) -ˌkät How to pronounce dovecote (audio)
variants or less commonly dovecot
: a small compartmented raised house or box for domestic pigeons
: a settled or harmonious group or organization

Did you know?

When Shakespeare's Coriolanus was condemned to die by the Volscians, the doomed general proudly reminded his enemies, "Like an eagle in a dove-cote, I Flutter'd your Volscians in Corioli." (Coriolanus was referring to an earlier victory in which his army had seized the city of Corioli from the Volscians.) When he introduced that eagle into the dovecote, Shakespeare also introduced a new figure of speech, but one that wasn't truly "discovered" by most writers until the 19th century-and then from a misquote. English novelist Edward G. Lytton reminded folks about it in 1853 when he wrote about how "the great Roman general did 'flutter the dove-cots in Corioli.'" Nowadays, we sometimes ruffle dovecotes or cause a flurry in them, in addition to fluttering them or causing a flutter in them.

Examples of dovecote in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At the very top of the house, in a former dovecote with oxeye windows, there’s now a yoga studio and a roof deck with a hair-raising view of the river valley. Jo Rodgers, Vogue, 3 May 2024 Surrounded by redwood trees, the half-timbered home has multiple rooflines and gables, three stand-alone dovecotes that look like little towers, and a fence of irregularly curving bricks. Erika Mailman, WSJ, 9 Mar. 2023 Overlooking the Dordogne valley in southwestern France, this 19th century chateau sits on 52 acres of woodlands and meadows with stables, a covered riding school and a dovecote. Lauren Beale, Forbes, 31 Oct. 2021 The exemplary property comprises a main house with eight bedrooms, five additional cottages with their own gardens, a 17th-century dovecote and farming and equestrian facilities—all set against the pastoral landscape of the Cotswolds. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 10 Aug. 2022 The château was listed as a Historic Monument in 1927 and its park, garden, orangery, enclosing walls, stables, basin and dovecote were also listed in 1994. Alex Ledsom, Forbes, 1 June 2022 This sophomore effort flashes back and forth between the springtime unfurling of Mungo and James’ love (forged in the dovecote where James raises pigeons) and the goose-pimpling fishing expedition a few months later. Hillary Kelly, Los Angeles Times, 31 Mar. 2022 The Victorian dovecote in the eaves of the coach house may even remain home to the family of jackdaws now living there. New York Times, 15 Oct. 2021 The dovecote at the peak of the roof and the pale-yellow siding were overseen by one older man. Emma Alpern, Curbed, 22 Sep. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dovecote.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English dowecote, doffcote, from dowe, douve dove entry 1 + cote cote entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dovecote was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near dovecote

Cite this Entry

“Dovecote.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


dove·​cote ˈdəv-ˌkōt How to pronounce dovecote (audio)
variants also dovecot
: a small raised house or box with compartments for domestic pigeons

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