dove·​cote | \ ˈdəv-ˌkōt How to pronounce dovecote (audio) , -ˌkät How to pronounce dovecote (audio) \
variants: or less commonly dovecot \ ˈdəv-​ˌkät How to pronounce dovecote (audio) \

Definition of dovecote

1 : a small compartmented raised house or box for domestic pigeons
2 : a settled or harmonious group or organization

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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 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 For how better to understand adaptation, form, function and change than to witness them in one’s own dovecote or chicken house? Julie Zickefoose, WSJ, 22 Nov. 2018 Her question reflected a conventional Republican gripe, namely that the State Department is a cooing dovecote, full of apologists for Abroad. The Economist, 15 Mar. 2018 The living room has a fireplace and views of the southern grounds of the property, including an ice house and a dovecote, or pigeon house, dating to the 15th century, before the original castle was built. Kevin Brass, New York Times, 13 Sep. 2017 Dilbeck would take creative liberties with mismatched chimneys, add dovecotes to the roofline, and insert turrets and cupolas discreetly into the facade — an idea that runs counter to contemporary use of turrets. By Gaile Robinson Photos By Paul Moseley, star-telegram, 2 Aug. 2017 See More

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

First Known Use of dovecote

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dovecote

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

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

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dove dock

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Last Updated

14 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dovecote.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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