There are 2 main definitions of pigeon in English:

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pigeon 1

Line breaks: pi¦geon
Pronunciation: /ˈpɪdʒɪn/
/ˈpɪdʒ(ə)n/

noun

1A stout seed- or fruit-eating bird with a small head, short legs, and a cooing voice, typically having grey and white plumage. See also dove1 (sense 1).
Example sentences
  • Their short breeding cycle allows pigeons and doves to have more broods to compensate for their small brood sizes and relatively high rates of predation.
  • This diet mimics the composition of crop milk in white Carneaux pigeons, Columbia livia, and the diet of older squabs.
  • After lunch, we walked round the spit and swam in a sea like silk, with only a sea eagle and a few white Torres Strait pigeons for company.
1.1 (also domestic or feral pigeon) A pigeon descended from the wild rock dove, kept for racing, showing, and carrying messages, and common as a feral bird in towns.
Example sentences
  • Until recently, winter nesting in British birds has been very rare beyond a handful of species that include the wood pigeon, feral pigeon, and collared dove.
  • Descended from wild rock doves, homing pigeons can locate their lofts, or roosts, even when released several thousand miles away.
  • Its been estimated by some pigeon fanciers that there as many as 500 wild pigeons in the town centre.
2 informal , chiefly North American A gullible person, especially someone swindled in gambling or the victim of a confidence trick.
Example sentences
  • At the end of the day, one has to admit that most would-be megastars, the pigeons in this behavioral con game, are complicit in their deception.
  • The pigeon is the gaming commission who doesn't recognize the gambler's need for excitement and agrees to bar them from casinos.
  • In Trafalgar Square, he meets up with Bugsy, a fat, smelly, cheeky con-man pigeon, who ends up volunteering for the war effort by mistake.
3 military slang An aircraft from one’s own side.

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French pijon, denoting a young bird, especially a young dove, from an alteration of late Latin pipio(n-), 'young cheeping bird' of imitative origin.

More
  • The name of the pigeon comes from French pijon, a word for a young bird, especially a young dove. It is an alteration of Latin pipio, which imitates the piping or cheeping of a nestling. The phrase to be someone's pigeon, ‘to be someone's concern or responsibility’, has nothing to do with homing pigeons going astray, or indeed anything involving the bird: pigeon here is a respelling of pidgin and thus means ‘business’. The pigeon's distinctive walk gave us pigeon-toed, meaning ‘having the toes or feet turned inwards’, and pigeon-chested or pigeon-breasted, ‘having a protruding chest’, from the end of the 18th century.

Words that rhyme with pigeon

pidgin, smidgen, wigeon

Definition of pigeon in:

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There are 2 main definitions of pigeon in English:

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pigeon 2 Line breaks: pi¦geon
Pronunciation: /ˈpɪdʒɪn/

noun

1 archaic spelling of pidgin.
Example sentences
  • They spent two weeks there practising the local language - a pigeon English called Krio - and lazing on the beaches.
  • To make it even better, this guy only spoke French and Paul spoke pigeon French.
  • People who first spoke pigeon languages (e.g. Creole) which were just a combination of other languages had kids that incorporated grammar and usage into the language that the parents never used or taught.
2 (one's pigeon) British informal A person’s particular responsibility or business: Hermia will have to tell them first, it’s her pigeon
More example sentences
  • "He'll know what to do, and in any case, it's his pigeon to whack out justice."
  • Whatever has been ages ago - it's not my pigeon.

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