Word Origin & History
1211, from O.Fr. pijon "young dove," probably from V.L. *pibionem, dissimilation from L.L. pipionem "squab, young chirping bird" (3c.), acc. of L. pipio "chirping bird," from pipire "to peep, chirp," of imitative origin. Modern spelling is from later Fr. pigeon. Replaced culver (O.E. culufre, from V.L.
*columbra, from L. columbula) and native dove. Pigeonhole (1577) was originally a small recess for pigeons to nest in. The verb sense of "label mentally" is from 1870. Pigeon-toed first recorded 1801 (of horses).