—i.e. the diver-bird; perhaps so called from its habit of ducking the head. So also columba (the Latin for dove) is the Greek kolumbis (a diver).
(The). The dove, in Christian art, symbolises the Holy Ghost. In church windows the seven rays proceeding from the dove signify the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. It also symbolises the human soul, and as such is represented coming out of the mouth of saints at death.
A dove with six wings is emblematic of the Church of Christ. The seven gifts of the Holy Ghost are: (1) counsel, (2) the fear of the Lord, (3) fortitude, (4) piety, (5) understanding, (6) wisdom, and (7) knowledge.
A sort of doves were housed too near the hall ... [i.e. the private chapel at Whitehall] Our pampered pigeons, with malignant eyes, Beheld these inmates [the Roman Catholic clergy]. Tho' hard their fare, at evening and at morn, A cruse of water and an ear of corn, Yet still they grudged that modicum.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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