Definition of feather in English:

feather

noun

  • 1Any of the flat appendages growing from a bird's skin and forming its plumage, consisting of a partly hollow horny shaft fringed with vanes of barbs:

    ‘the waxwing has very bright feathers and a prominent crest’
    ‘Sally-Anne, dolled up in ostrich feathers and pearls’
    • ‘Geoffrey Hill, a biologist at Auburn University in Alabama, studies coloring in bird feathers.’
    • ‘Air rushing over the birds' feathers produces turbulence.’
    • ‘‘Although, if you do have a nice stiff turkey feather, that'd be good,’ he said.’
    • ‘Primary wing feathers create the flight surface, thus allowing birds to fly.’
    • ‘Besides having forelimbs that resemble the wings of modern birds, the animal sported long feathers from thigh to foot on each hind limb.’
    • ‘A number of hypotheses have been suggested for the origin of birds and feathers.’
    • ‘Found in 1877 and now on display at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, the fossil bird had unusually long feathers around its legs.’
    • ‘Clean feathers allow birds to use their power of flight to forage for food, escape predators, and maybe just have some fun.’
    • ‘A natural but erroneous conclusion would be that oil is needed on the bird's skin and feathers.’
    • ‘He suddenly reached into the pocket of his pants and took out a long speckled feather.’
    • ‘One stray feather sat mournfully closer to the door.’
    • ‘He realized that they were coming from his bathroom and he opened the door slowly to see that the window was open and there was a big, black feather on the floor.’
    • ‘Scientists theorize that birds could use toxins in their feathers and skin to ward off parasites and insects.’
    • ‘When the color of the landscape changes, females shed their white plumage as brown replacement feathers grow in.’
    • ‘I admired the apple green plumage on its chest that flowed into the fiery orange tail feathers and wing feathers.’
    • ‘But the creature's most unusual feature was a set of long, asymmetric feathers with hooked barbs on its hind limbs and forelimbs.’
    • ‘Her dream was all but forgotten as she looked up into the trees, trying to find the owner of the feather.’
    • ‘How am I supposed to tell them from any other feather?’
    • ‘Some dinosaurs are known to have had long tail plumes and large feathers on the backs of their hands - not for flight, but perhaps for display of some kind.’
    • ‘The birds also use barbed wire, snake skin, feathers and bone as nest materials.’
    plume, quill
    plumage, feathering, down, hackles, crest, tuft, topknot, pinion
    covert, remex, rectrix, plumule, semi-plume
    vibrissae
    flag
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1feathers A fringe of long hair on the legs of a dog, horse, or other animal.
      • ‘Use a pin brush or slicker brush in the feathers to separate the hair and to remove tangles.’

verb

  • 1[with object] Rotate the blades of (a propeller) about their own axes in such a way as to lessen the air or water resistance.

    • ‘The crew had experienced minor difficulty in getting the propeller to fully feather.’
    • ‘With an engine failure, the prop couldn't be feathered.’
    • ‘We secured the port engine and feathered its propeller before we lost all the pitch-change fluid from the pitch-control unit on the port propeller.’
    • ‘Following this, he feathered the three propellers then unfeathered one at a time in an attempt to restart at least one engine, without success.’
    • ‘After shutdown and confirmation, the propeller feathered with no pitchlock, and the pilots completed the emergency procedures.’
    • ‘Once the propeller was feathered, the drag reduced, and we could maintain directional control, as well as increase altitude and airspeed.’
    • ‘Lieutenant Emerson was able to get the fire extinguished, then he feathered the propeller.’
    • ‘As the colonel secured the engines and feathered the propellers, the aircraft momentarily became airborne because of the reduced drag.’
    • ‘A fire erupted in the starboard engine and the pilot was unable to feather the propeller.’
    • ‘I reacted by feathering the right propeller and securing the right engine.’
    • ‘We feathered the propeller and discussed our options.’
    • ‘He had Lieutenant Stormer secure the port engine and feather the propeller.’
    • ‘Ken shut down the engine and feathered the propeller while Bob returned to his turret.’
    • ‘The propeller was not feathered and more oil was coming out of the front of the engine.’
    • ‘He shut down the engine, feathered the propeller and entered a power-off emergency descent.’
    • ‘The engine was shut down and the propeller feathered.’
    • ‘We were surprised, since the engine already was shut down, and the propeller was feathered.’
    1. 1.1 Vary the angle of attack of (rotor blades).
      • ‘Orbiting over the airport, he undertook a series of flight tests which included stalls, feathering and restarting each engine, and a beat-up on the field.’
      • ‘Flames were roaring out of the left nacelle as Hart pulled the fire bottles, yanked the throttle back, and feathered the prop.’
    2. 1.2Rowing Turn (an oar) so that it passes through the air edgeways:
      ‘he turned, feathering one oar slowly’
      • ‘The others, even the ones who had never rowed before this day, feathered their oars like pros and smiled like kids in the candy store.’
  • 2[no object, with adverbial] Float or move like a feather:

    ‘the green fronds feathered against a blue sky’
    • ‘Twigs and leaves, from overgrown bushes - half hung in the road - bashed and feathered against his clothes.’
  • 3[with object] Blend or smooth delicately:

    ‘feather the paint in, in a series of light strokes’
    • ‘If organized is quite the word - but the point is, you could put ink on and it was much more inclined to stay put, so we could start tinkering with feathering and other decorative techniques.’
    • ‘He often employed a personal technique: feathering his surfaces on the top layer with small white brushstrokes, which delicately muffle the colors underneath.’
  • 4[no object] (of ink, lipstick, etc.) separate into tiny lines after application:

    ‘a long-lasting formula that resists feathering and protects the lips’
    • ‘Packaged in a sleek gold tube, it keeps lips smooth, fills in any lines around lips and prevents lipstick from feathering around your mouth (even on smokers).’
  • 5

    short for feather cut

Phrases

  • a feather in one's cap

    • An achievement to be proud of:

      ‘beating him would be a feather in my cap’
      • ‘I consider that a feather in my cap and, if all goes to plan, John Hughes will join us for similar reasons.’
      • ‘It's a bit of a feather in their cap if they can keep him quiet because he's run riot this season.’
      • ‘It's a feather in his cap because when he goes in to negotiate funding again he can point to us and use that as leverage to get more money.’
      • ‘‘It's a feather in your cap when you are asked to be captain, especially by someone like Paul Broadbent,’ he said.’
      • ‘‘That's a feather in your cap,’ someone told me today.’
      • ‘Entertaining the Queen was undoubtedly a feather in my cap.’
      • ‘The best I can say is that he is in charge and if he was to do well that would be a feather in his cap.’
      • ‘He's a feather in our cap and we need more like him around here.’
      • ‘Medical director at the Royal Oldham Hospital, Roger Glew said: ‘There is no doubt that beating off competition from other hospitals across the country to take part in this prestigious research project is a feather in our cap.’’
      • ‘It's another area where he feels he's entitled to a feather in his cap.’
  • feather one's (own) nest

    • Make money for oneself in an opportunistic or selfish way:

      ‘he may have decided to feather his nest by blackmail’
      • ‘I don't mind that he may have feathered his nest (after all we live in a capitalist society where feathering nests is the be all and end all).’
      • ‘A whole bunch of so called scientists, lawyers and, most important, politicians, have taken it over in the meantime to feather their own nest.’
      • ‘They are in this line of work to feather their own nest.’
      • ‘But the way they (the politicians) have feathered their own nest in the last few years is corrupt too.’
      • ‘I also hope that in pointing out a minor aberration, you are not doing this to feather your own nest, young Lance.’
      • ‘If he had siphoned off taxes to feather his own nest, that would be a moral issue of public interest.’
      • ‘The people simply don't believe that politics has much changed, and regard the entire lot of politicians as corrupt species out to feather their own nest.’
      • ‘But you may think I'm just feathering my own nest anyway, so the choice of who to believe is all yours.’
      • ‘An admirer of Robert Owen, he thought that he could improve the lives of the working poor (and feather his own nest) by creating a community in which his workers owed every element of their existence to him.’
      make money
      View synonyms
  • (as) light as a feather

    • Extremely light and insubstantial.

      • ‘Priced at $299.99, this device is only 0.39-inches thick and light as a feather.’
      • ‘It was light as a feather, equally balanced as well.’
      • ‘They are flaky and perfect and light as a feather.’
      • ‘After a full massage, including my stomach, I felt absolutely wonderful - light as a feather.’
      • ‘Well, you're not exactly light as a feather either!’
      • ‘It is light as a feather, but very strong and durable.’
      • ‘‘Alright, but I can't promise that I'll be light as a feather,’ she said as she jumped on his back and brought her arms around his neck.’
      • ‘Yesterday I had trouble lifting a bucket of sand that two weekends ago was as light as a feather.’
      • ‘The thing does a good job, and it's as light as a feather.’
      • ‘He handled his sword as if it were light as a feather.’

Origin

Old English fether, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch veer and German Feder, from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit patra wing, Latin penna feather, and Greek pteron, pterux wing.

Pronunciation:

feather

/ˈfɛðə/