"Pigeon-fancying was especially strong in England in the nineteenth century, with great skill expended in breeding new varieties forshow. Charles Darwin became a fancier in 1855 to study variation within species as part of his research which became On the Origin of Species.
Like other bodies of the period, pigeon-fanciers' societies looked to the classical languages for suitably distinguished titles. At the time Darwin became involved, a London one was grandly calledthe Philoperisteron Society. "Philo-" means a lover of something,from Greek "philos", loving; "peristeron" was invented by a learnedfounder, which he took from Greek "peristera" for a wild pigeon ordove. The organisation changed its name in 1867 to the National Peristeronic Society (which still exists), in which "peristeronic"was another invented word, an adjective with the sense "relating to or concerned with pigeons". The change of name should not be taken as meaning that the members of the society had ceased loving their pigeons."
So now when you work a pigeon fancier into your romance novel, you know the correct term to use!
*World Wide Words is copyright (c) Michael Quinion 2010. All rights reserved. The Words Web site is at http://www.worldwidewds.
Reproduced with permission