1. (Science: zoology) a pigeon of the genus Columba and various related genera. The species are numerous.
The domestic dove, including the varieties called fantails, tumblers, carrier pigeons, etc, was derived from the rock pigeon (Columba livia) of Europe and Asia; the turtledove of Europe, celebrated for its sweet, plaintive note, is c. Turtur or Turtur vulgaris; the ringdove, the largest of European species, is c. Palumbus; the Carolina dove, or mourning dove, is Zenaidura macroura; the sea dove is the little auk (Mergulus alle or Alle alle). See turtledove, ground dove, and rock pigeon. The dove is a symbol of innocence, gentleness, and affection; also, in art and in the Scriptures, the typical symbol of the holy ghost.
2. A word of endearment for one regarded as pure and gentle. O my dove, . . . Let me hear thy voice. (Cant. Ii.
(Science: zoology) 14) dove tick, a mite (Argas reflexus) which infests doves and other birds. Soiled dove, a prostitute.
Origin: oe. Dove, duve, douve, as. Dfe; akin to os. Dba, D. Duif, OHG. Tba, g. Taube, Icel. Dfa, Sw. Dufva, dan. Due, goth. Db; perh. From the root of E. Dive.