Etymology
Advertisement
pigeon (n.)

late 14c., pijoun, "a dove, a young dove" (early 13c. as a surname), from Old French pijon, 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," a word of imitative origin. As an English word it replaced culver (Old English culufre, from Vulgar Latin *columbra, from Latin columbula) and native dove (n.). 

The meaning "one easily duped, a simpleton to be swindled" is from 1590s (compare gull (n.2)). Pigeon-hearted (1620s) and pigeon-livered (c. 1600) are "timid, easily frightened." A pigeon-pair (by 1800) are twins of the opposite sex (or family consisting of a boy and a girl only), so called because pigeons lay two eggs, normally hatching a male and a female.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
stool pigeon (n.)

"police informer," 1859, American English; earlier "one who betrays the unwary (or is used to betray them)," 1821, originally a decoy bird (1812); said to be from decoys being fastened to stools to lure other pigeons. But perhaps related to stall "decoy bird" (c. 1500), especially "a pigeon used to entice a hawk into the net" (see stall (n.2)). Also see pigeon.

Related entries & more 
pigeon-hole (n.)

also pigeonhole, 1570s as "a small recess for pigeons to nest in," from pigeon + hole (n.); later "hole in a dovecote for pigeons to pass in and out" (1680s). Extended meaning "a little compartment or division in a writing desk," etc. is from 1680s, based on resemblance. Hence, "an ideal compartment for classification of persons, etc." (by 1879). The verb is from 1840, "place or file away in a pigeon-hole." The figurative sense of "lay aside for future consideration" is by 1854, that of "label mentally" by 1870.

[Y]ou will have an inspector after you with note-book and ink-horn, and you will be booked and pigeon-holed for further use when wanted. ["Civilisation—The Census," Blackwood's Magazine, Oct. 1854]

Related: Pigeonholed.

Related entries & more 
pigeon-toed (adj.)

1788, colloquially, originally of horses, by 1801 of persons, "having the toes curled in;" see pigeon. Of birds, "having the foot structure which characterizes the pigeon," by 1890.

Related entries & more 
pigeon-wing (n.)

1807 as the name of a brisk, fancy step in dancing, skating, etc.; see pigeon + wing (n.).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
pettitoes (n.)

1550s, "the toes or feet of a pig," especially as an article of food," from petit + toes. Sometimes in jocular use, "the human foot."

Related entries & more 
digitate (adj.)
Origin and meaning of digitate

1660s, in zoology, "having separate fingers and toes," from Latin digitatus "having fingers or toes," from digitus "finger" (see digit). In botany, "having deep, radiating divisions, like fingers," by 1788.

Related entries & more 
pointe (n.)

in dance, "the tips of the toes," 1830, from French pointe (see point (n.)).

Related entries & more 
pantyhose (n.)

 "sheer tights or close-fitting legwear covering the body from the waist to the toes," 1963, also pantihose; see panties + hose (n.).

Related entries & more 
pidgin (n.)

1876, "artificial jargon of corrupted English with a few Chinese, Portuguese, and Malay words, arranged according to the Chinese idiom, used by the Chinese and foreigners for colloquial convenience in business transactions in the ports of China and the Far East," from pigeon English (1859), the name of the reduced form of English used in China for communication with Europeans, from pigeon, pidgin "business, affair, thing" (1826), itself a pidgin word (with altered spelling based on pigeon), representing a Chinese pronunciation of business. The meaning was extended by 1891 to "any simplified language."

Related entries & more