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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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 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, "‘Unnatural Selection’ Review: A Better Bird, Bit by Bit," 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, "The president has had enough of being challenged over foreign policy," 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, "House Hunting in ... Aberdeen, Scotland," 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, "Whimsical By Design: Charles Dilbeck’s 1938 ranch house still exudes luxury, comfort," 2 Aug. 2017

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.

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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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Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dovecote.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of dovecote

: a small house or box for pigeons to live in

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