What is the X in X-mas?
probably from Old English dufe- (found only in compounds), from Proto-Germanic *dubon (cf. Old Saxon duba, Old Norse dufa, Swedish duva, Middle Dutch duve, Dutch duif, Old High German tuba, German Taube, Gothic -dubo), perhaps related to words for "dive," in reference to its flight.
Originally applied to all pigeons, now mostly restricted to the turtle dove. A symbol of gentleness from early Christian times, also of the Holy Spirit (cf. Gen. viii:8-12), and of peace and deliverance from anxiety; political meaning "person who advocates peace" attested by 1917, from the Christian dove of peace.
past tense of dive (q.v.).
In their wild state doves generally build their nests in the clefts of rocks, but when domesticated "dove-cots" are prepared for them (Cant. 2:14; Jer. 48:28; Isa. 60:8). The dove was placed on the standards of the Assyrians and Babylonians in honour, it is supposed, of Semiramis (Jer. 25:38; Vulg., "fierceness of the dove;" comp. Jer. 46:16; 50:16). Doves and turtle-doves were the only birds that could be offered in sacrifice, as they were clean according to the Mosaic law (Ge. 15:9; Lev. 5:7; 12:6; Luke 2:24). The dove was the harbinger of peace to Noah (Gen. 8:8, 10). It is often mentioned as the emblem of purity (Ps. 68:13). It is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2; Matt. 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32); also of tender and devoted affection (Cant. 1:15; 2:14). David in his distress wished that he had the wings of a dove, that he might fly away and be at rest (Ps. 55:6-8). There is a species of dove found at Damascus "whose feathers, all except the wings, are literally as yellow as gold" (68:13).