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’
    • ‘One stray feather sat mournfully closer to the door.’
    • ‘A natural but erroneous conclusion would be that oil is needed on the bird's skin and feathers.’
    • ‘I admired the apple green plumage on its chest that flowed into the fiery orange tail feathers and wing feathers.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Clean feathers allow birds to use their power of flight to forage for food, escape predators, and maybe just have some fun.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A number of hypotheses have been suggested for the origin of birds and feathers.’
    • ‘‘Although, if you do have a nice stiff turkey feather, that'd be good,’ he said.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When the color of the landscape changes, females shed their white plumage as brown replacement feathers grow in.’
    • ‘Besides having forelimbs that resemble the wings of modern birds, the animal sported long feathers from thigh to foot on each hind limb.’
    • ‘Scientists theorize that birds could use toxins in their feathers and skin to ward off parasites and insects.’
    • ‘He suddenly reached into the pocket of his pants and took out a long speckled feather.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Air rushing over the birds' feathers produces turbulence.’
    • ‘The birds also use barbed wire, snake skin, feathers and bone as nest materials.’
    • ‘Primary wing feathers create the flight surface, thus allowing birds to fly.’
    • ‘Geoffrey Hill, a biologist at Auburn University in Alabama, studies coloring in bird feathers.’
    • ‘But the creature's most unusual feature was a set of long, asymmetric feathers with hooked barbs on its hind limbs and forelimbs.’
    plume, quill
    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

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

    • ‘He shut down the engine, feathered the propeller and entered a power-off emergency descent.’
    • ‘Ken shut down the engine and feathered the propeller while Bob returned to his turret.’
    • ‘Following this, he feathered the three propellers then unfeathered one at a time in an attempt to restart at least one engine, without success.’
    • ‘We were surprised, since the engine already was shut down, and the propeller was feathered.’
    • ‘He had Lieutenant Stormer secure the port engine and feather the propeller.’
    • ‘The crew had experienced minor difficulty in getting the propeller to fully feather.’
    • ‘A fire erupted in the starboard engine and the pilot was unable to feather the propeller.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With an engine failure, the prop couldn't be feathered.’
    • ‘The propeller was not feathered and more oil was coming out of the front of the engine.’
    • ‘Once the propeller was feathered, the drag reduced, and we could maintain directional control, as well as increase altitude and airspeed.’
    • ‘We feathered the propeller and discussed our options.’
    • ‘Lieutenant Emerson was able to get the fire extinguished, then he feathered the propeller.’
    • ‘The engine was shut down and the propeller feathered.’
    • ‘I reacted by feathering the right propeller and securing the right engine.’
    • ‘As the colonel secured the engines and feathered the propellers, the aircraft momentarily became airborne because of the reduced drag.’
    • ‘After shutdown and confirmation, the propeller feathered with no pitchlock, and the pilots completed the emergency procedures.’
    1. 1.1 Vary the angle of attack of (rotor blades).
      • ‘Flames were roaring out of the left nacelle as Hart pulled the fire bottles, yanked the throttle back, and feathered the prop.’
      • ‘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.’
    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.’
  • 2no 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.’
  • 3with object Blend or smooth delicately.

    ‘feather the paint in, in a series of light strokes’
    • ‘He often employed a personal technique: feathering his surfaces on the top layer with small white brushstrokes, which delicately muffle the colors underneath.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 4no 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
    • ‘She had short, feathered, auburn hair with black streaks.’
    • ‘A pretty news anchor woman was stood on the Creek pier, microphone in hand and her blond hair nicely feathered.’
    • ‘Individual strands of hair feathered beneath my comb, and I examined them all closely.’
    • ‘Her feathered, honey-blond hair is splayed around her, her lips are glossy, and her white halter dress and heels present a doll-like plasticity.’

Phrases

  • a feather in one's cap

    • An achievement to be proud of.

      ‘beating him would be a feather in my cap’
      • ‘Entertaining the Queen was undoubtedly a feather in my cap.’
      • ‘‘It's a feather in your cap when you are asked to be captain, especially by someone like Paul Broadbent,’ he said.’
      • ‘I consider that a feather in my cap and, if all goes to plan, John Hughes will join us for similar reasons.’
      • ‘‘That's a feather in your cap,’ someone told me today.’
      • ‘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 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 bit of a feather in their cap if they can keep him quiet because he's run riot this season.’
      • ‘It's another area where he feels he's entitled to a feather in his 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.’
  • 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 also hope that in pointing out a minor aberration, you are not doing this to feather your own nest, young Lance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But you may think I'm just feathering my own nest anyway, so the choice of who to believe is all yours.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A whole bunch of so called scientists, lawyers and, most important, politicians, have taken it over in the meantime to feather their own nest.’
      • ‘If he had siphoned off taxes to feather his own nest, that would be a moral issue of public interest.’
      • ‘They are in this line of work to feather their own nest.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘But the way they (the politicians) have feathered their own nest in the last few years is corrupt too.’
      make money
      View synonyms
  • (as) light as a feather

    • Extremely light and insubstantial.

      • ‘Well, you're not exactly light as a feather either!’
      • ‘They are flaky and perfect and light as a feather.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘The thing does a good job, and it's as light as a feather.’
      • ‘It is light as a feather, but very strong and durable.’
      • ‘He handled his sword as if it were light as a feather.’
      • ‘After a full massage, including my stomach, I felt absolutely wonderful - light as a feather.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yesterday I had trouble lifting a bucket of sand that two weekends ago was as 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/