Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various birds of the widely distributed family Columbidae, characteristically having plump bodies, small heads, and short legs, especially the rock dove or any of its domesticated varieties.
  • n. Slang One who is easily swindled; a dupe.
  • n. An object of special concern; an affair or matter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. One of several birds of the family Columbidae, which consists of more than 300 species.
  • n. A person who is a target or victim of a confidence game.
  • v. to deceive with a confidence game

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any bird of the order Columbæ, of which numerous species occur in nearly all parts of the world.
  • n. An unsuspected victim of sharpers; a gull.
  • transitive v. To pluck; to fleece; to swindle by tricks in gambling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pluck; fleece; strip of money by the tricks of gambling.
  • n. Any bird of the family Columbidæ (which see for technical characters); a dove. ; ;
  • n. A simpleton to be swindled; a gull: opposed to rook. See stool-pigeon.
  • n. A toy consisting of a light propeller-wheel, which, on being made to revolve rapidly by means of a string wound about a shaft on which it rests, rises in the air in a short flight.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. wild and domesticated birds having a heavy body and short legs

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French pijon, probably from Vulgar Latin *pībiō, pībiōn-, alteration of Late Latin pīpiō, young chirping bird, squab, from pīpīre, to chirp.
Alteration of pidgin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old French pyjon, from Late Latin pipionem ("chirping bird"), accusative singular of Latin pipio ("chirping bird"), from pipiō ("to chirp"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • PIGEONS

    David Hernandez (1991)

    Pigeons are the spiks of Birdland.
    They are survivors of blood, fire and stone.
    They can’t afford to fly south
    or a Florida winter home.
    Most everybody passing up a pigeon pack
    tries to break it up because they move funny
    and seem to be dancing like young street thugs
    with an 18-foot, 10-speaker Sanyo book box radio
    on a 2-foot red shoulder strap.
    Pigeons have feathers of a different color.
    They are too bright to be dull
    and too dull to be bright
    so they are not accepted anywhere.

    Nobody wants to give pigeons a job.
    Parakeets, canaries and parrots
    have the market sown up as far as that goes.
    They live in fancy cages, get 3 meals a day
    for a song and dance routine.
    When was the last time you saw a pigeon
    in someone’s home?
    Unless they bleached their feathers white
    and try to pass off as doves,
    you will never see pet pigeons.
    Besides, their accents give them away
    when they start cooing.

    Once in a while, some creatures will treat them decent.
    They are known as pigeon ladies, renegades,
    or bleeding-heart Liberals.
    What they do is build these wooden cages
    on rooftops that look like huge
    pigeon housing projects
    where they freeze during the winters
    and get their little claws stuck in tar
    on hot summer days
    No wonder they are pigeon-toed.
    I tell you,
    Pigeons are the spiks of Birdland.

    There is a specific indentation pattern to the original poem that is lost here, but can be seen at this website (unfortunately at the price of a background pattern that makes reading particularly hard, for me at any rate)

    Pigeons

    March 15, 2009