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noun (1)

pi·​geon ˈpi-jən How to pronounce pigeon (audio)
: any of a widely distributed family (Columbidae, order Columbiformes) of birds with a stout body, rather short legs, and smooth and compact plumage
especially : a member of any of numerous varieties of the rock dove that exist in domestication and in the feral state in cities and towns throughout most of the world
: a young woman
: an easy mark : dupe


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noun (2)

: an object of special concern : accepted business or interest
tennis was not his pigeon

Examples of pigeon in a Sentence

Noun (1) a confidence man in search of another pigeon
Recent Examples on the Web
Cluttered and leaking, filled with the muck of cats, pigeons and Indiana’s pet Chihuahua, the house where Indiana had lived since the 1970s needed to be cleaned as part of the appraisal process. Graham Bowley, New York Times, 3 May 2024 But 10 of the new viral sequences are from cattle, two more are from cats, and another is from a pigeon. Helen Branswell, STAT, 2 May 2024 The first calls that Dr. Barb Petersen received in early March were from dairy owners worried about crows, pigeons and other birds dying on their Texas farms. Jonel Aleccia, Fortune, 1 May 2024 The herpesvirus in question can be carried by healthy pigeons but may cause fatal disease in birds of prey, including owls that become infected by eating pigeons, the society said. Ed Shanahan, New York Times, 25 Mar. 2024 The latter wrote the New Yorker article about the real-life phenomenon of pigeon racing that inspired the movie. Jack Smart, Peoplemag, 29 Feb. 2024 The breaking point came when the center’s outreach coordinator went outside to take photos of the dogs playing and the pigeon landed on her head. Olivia Lloyd, Miami Herald, 8 Apr. 2024 The necropsy, conducted by Bronx Zoo veterinary pathologists, showed that the Eurasian eagle owl contracted herpesvirus from a healthy pigeon. USA TODAY, 26 Mar. 2024 Swans limping around Paris’s Luxembourg Gardens and baby pigeons abandoned along the Seine riverbanks will end up here. Jess McHugh, Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2024

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

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French pygoun, pijun, from Late Latin pipion-, pipio young bird, from Latin pipire to chirp

Noun (2)

alteration of pidgin

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1826, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pigeon was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near pigeon

Cite this Entry

“Pigeon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pigeon. Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: any of numerous birds with a stout body, usually short legs, and smooth feathers
especially : any of many varieties of the rock dove that are domesticated or have escaped from domestication and live in cities and towns throughout most of the world
: someone who is easily fooled or cheated

More from Merriam-Webster on pigeon

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