9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pij-uh n] /ˈpɪdʒ ən/
any bird of the family Columbidae, having a compact body and short legs, especially the larger species with square or rounded tails.
Compare dove1 (def 1).
a domesticated member of this family, as one of the varieties of the rock dove.
  1. a young, usually attractive, girl.
  2. a person who is easily fooled or cheated; dupe.
Poker Slang. a card, acquired in the draw, that greatly improves a hand or makes it a winner.
Origin of pigeon1
1350-1400; Middle English pejon young dove < Middle French pijon < Late Latin pīpiōn- (stem of pīpiō) squab, akin to pīpīre, pīpāre to chirp
Can be confused
pidgin, pigeon.


[pij-uh n] /ˈpɪdʒ ən/
(not in technical use) pidgin; pidgin English. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pigeon
  • The attic was covered in pigeon feces and mites and pigeons were getting stuck and dying inside the walls of the house.
  • The nearest equivalent to tweeting, back then, was to send a message by carrier pigeon.
  • Above are three frames of a pigeon flying in a wind tunnel.
  • At the end of the book is an overview map of the city, showing where the pigeon flew.
  • There is more to your everyday park pigeon than meets the eye.
  • Much of her research had focused on nitric oxide, which acts as a sort of carrier pigeon between cells, communicating information.
  • If the latter, it runs the risk of becoming a clay pigeon.
  • Some times they may have a pigeon or a vulture on their heads.
  • On the surface, a pigeon and an alligator could hardly seem more different.
  • The chicken on the table, the pigeon on the street, the parrot in the zoo: all of them are living descendants of dinosaurs.
British Dictionary definitions for pigeon


any of numerous birds of the family Columbidae, having a heavy body, small head, short legs, and long pointed wings: order Columbiformes See rock dove
(slang) a victim or dupe
Word Origin
C14: from Old French pijon young dove, from Late Latin pīpiō young bird, from pīpīre to chirp


(Brit, informal) concern or responsibility (often in the phrase it's his, her, etc, pigeon)
Word Origin
C19: altered from pidgin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pigeon

late 14c. (early 13c. as a surname), from Old French pigeon "young dove" (13c.), probably from Vulgar Latin *pibionem, dissimilation from Late Latin pipionem (nominative pipio) "squab, young chirping bird" (3c.), from pipire "to peep, chirp," of imitative origin. Meaning "one easily duped" is from 1590s. Replaced culver (Old English culufre, from Vulgar Latin *columbra, from Latin columbula) and native dove.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pigeon


  1. An informer; stool pigeon: I don't like pigeons (1849+ Underworld)
  2. The victim of a swindle; dupe; mark, sucker: I'm your pigeon now and you guys are gonna rip me off (1593+)
  3. A young woman; chick (1586+)
  4. A former alcoholic in the care of a helpful sponsor or guardian (1980s+)
Related Terms

clay pigeon, dead duck

[for first sense see stool pigeon; the second sense probably derives fr the expression pluck a pigeon and may be based on a notion that pigeons are easy to catch; the sense ''young woman'' is probably fr or related to quail and again suggests an easy victim]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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pigeon in the Bible

Pigeons are mentioned as among the offerings which, by divine appointment, Abram presented unto the Lord (Gen. 15:9). They were afterwards enumerated among the sin-offerings (Lev. 1:14; 12:6), and the law provided that those who could not offer a lamb might offer two young pigeons (5:7; comp. Luke 2:24). (See DOVE.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with pigeon
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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