There are 2 main definitions of dove in English:


Line breaks: dove
Pronunciation: /dʌv


1A stocky bird with a small head, short legs, and a cooing voice, feeding on seeds or fruit. Doves are generally smaller and more delicate than pigeons, but many kinds have been given both names.
More example sentences
  • Nestling pigeons and doves grow rapidly because of the crop-milk.
  • I also see hornbills pass up small-fruited figs that would draw doves and pigeons in by the hundreds.
  • The Mourning Dove is the most slender of Washington's pigeons and doves.
2A person who advocates peaceful or conciliatory policies, especially in foreign affairs: he was the cabinet’s leading dove, the only minister to advocate peace talks Compare with hawk1 (sense 2) of the noun).
More example sentences
  • We at Dimpler Towers are thinking that siding with the doves over policy may not be such a bad idea.
  • As well as claiming a growing international consensus for action, he appears to have silenced - albeit temporarily - the doves in his own Cabinet.
  • But doubts go all the way up to doves inside his cabinet, prompting fears of the biggest split in the Labour movement since the formation of the SDP.
3 (Dove) (In Christian art and poetry) the Holy Spirit (as represented in John 1:32).
More example sentences
  • The story of Catherine is that she was put in prison, where she was fed by a Dove and saw a vision of Christ.


Middle English: from Old Norse dúfa.



More example sentences
  • What joy, then, when the dovelike Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost.


sense 2.
More example sentences
  • The better analogy for my dovish but principled friends would be some bird that can attack other birds - but chooses not to.
  • The answer is not, my dovish friends, as obvious as you seem to think.
  • Neoconservatives and neoliberals just have different basic ways of approaching foreign policy - neither necessarily more hawkish or dovish.

Definition of dove in: