\ 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

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 Each name, if known, was read aloud, followed by a single chime, and a paper dove was hung on a small artificial Christmas tree. Kate Santich,, 16 Dec. 2021 The official cookie handed out to guests is in the shape of a dove and covered in white icing. Washington Post, 29 Nov. 2021 In fact, those in the South Zone can expect a good dove season. Nathan Giese, Chron, 20 Aug. 2021 For some 50,000 Alabama hunters, the opening of the dove season is just short of the opening of college football season in importance as a marker of fall. Frank Sargeant, al, 20 Aug. 2021 In the language used by Fed watchers, this is the difference between being a hawk and a dove. Veronika Dolar, The Conversation, 19 Nov. 2021 His designs are gracing A-List celebrities such as Lady Gaga, who wore a Schiaparelli gown with a gold dove to the inauguration of President Joe Biden. Roxanne Robinson, Forbes, 9 Oct. 2021 Long seen as a dove on foreign policy for his opposition to nuclear weapons and efforts to resolve a painful decades-old dispute over Japan’s past militarism in the Korean Peninsula, Kishida showed a harder edge in his campaign for the leadership. Isabel Reynolds, Fortune, 29 Sep. 2021 Porter is famous because his forkball killed a dove in mid-air in the middle of a game. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 30 June 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

8 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Dove.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

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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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