Homing pigeon
Homing Hom"ing (h[=o]m"[i^]ng), p. a. Home-returning; -- used specifically of carrier pigeons. [1913 Webster]

{Homing pigeon}, any pigeon trained to return home from a distance. Also called {carrier pigeon}. Most are bred from the domestic pigeon {Columba livia}. Homing pigeons are used for sending back messages or for flying races. By carrying the birds away and releasing them at gradually increasing distances from home, they may be trained to return with more or less certainty and promptness from distances up to four or five hundred miles. The birds typically do not stop on their way home, and may average as much as 60 miles per hour on their return trip. If the distance is increased much beyond 400 miles, the birds are unable to cover it without stopping for a prolonged rest, and their return becomes doubtful. The record for returnig from a distance is close to 1,200 miles. Homing pigeons are not bred for fancy points or special colors, but for strength, speed, endurance, and intelligence or homing instinct. Although used since ancient times, homing pigeons have been largely displaced for practical purposes by radio and electronic communications, but they are still used in some special situations at the end of the 20th century. They were used in military operations as recently as in World War II. [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • homing pigeon — homing pigeons N COUNT A homing pigeon is a pigeon that is trained to return to a particular place, especially in races with other pigeons …   English dictionary

  • homing pigeon — homing .pigeon n a ↑pigeon that is able to find its way home over long distances …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • homing pigeon — n. any of a variety of pigeon trained to carry messages and to return to its home after traveling long distances: cf. RACING HOMER …   English World dictionary

  • homing pigeon — homing ,pigeon noun count a type of bird that can fly home across long distances …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Homing pigeon — White Homing pigeon The homing pigeon is a variety of domestic pigeon derived from the Rock Pigeon (Columba livia domestica) selectively bred to find its way home over extremely long distances.[1] The wild rock pigeon has an innate homing ability …   Wikipedia

  • homing pigeon — noun pigeon trained to return home • Syn: ↑homer • Hypernyms: ↑domestic pigeon • Hyponyms: ↑carrier pigeon * * * noun : a racing pigeon sometimes used for carrying messages and trained to return to its loft from distances up to 500 miles or more… …   Useful english dictionary

  • homing pigeon — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms homing pigeon : singular homing pigeon plural homing pigeons a type of bird that can fly home across long distances …   English dictionary

  • homing pigeon — noun A variety of domesticated rock pigeon (Columba livia) that has been selectively bred to be able to find its way home over extremely long distances. Syn: carrier pigeon, homer, messenger pigeon, racer, racing homer, racing pigeon See Also:… …   Wiktionary

  • homing pigeon — Synonyms and related words: Aquarius, Ganymede, Hebe, bearer, bheesty, busboy, caddie, cargo handler, carrier, carrier pigeon, carter, common carrier, conveyer, coolie, cupbearer, drayman, express, expressman, freighter, gun bearer, hauler, homer …   Moby Thesaurus

  • homing pigeon — carrier pigeon, pigeon that can be used to deliver messages because it has the ability to find its way home …   English contemporary dictionary

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