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’
    • ‘I admired the apple green plumage on its chest that flowed into the fiery orange tail feathers and wing feathers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He suddenly reached into the pocket of his pants and took out a long speckled 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But the creature's most unusual feature was a set of long, asymmetric feathers with hooked barbs on its hind limbs and forelimbs.’
    • ‘Geoffrey Hill, a biologist at Auburn University in Alabama, studies coloring in bird feathers.’
    • ‘Scientists theorize that birds could use toxins in their feathers and skin to ward off parasites and insects.’
    • ‘‘Although, if you do have a nice stiff turkey feather, that'd be good,’ he said.’
    • ‘How am I supposed to tell them from any other feather?’
    • ‘Her dream was all but forgotten as she looked up into the trees, trying to find the owner of the feather.’
    • ‘One stray feather sat mournfully closer to the door.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A number of hypotheses have been suggested for the origin of birds and feathers.’
    • ‘A natural but erroneous conclusion would be that oil is needed on the bird's skin and feathers.’
    • ‘Clean feathers allow birds to use their power of flight to forage for food, escape predators, and maybe just have some fun.’
    • ‘Air rushing over the birds' feathers produces turbulence.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.

    • ‘We feathered the propeller and discussed our options.’
    • ‘The engine was shut down and the propeller feathered.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Once the propeller was feathered, the drag reduced, and we could maintain directional control, as well as increase altitude and airspeed.’
    • ‘Ken shut down the engine and feathered the propeller while Bob returned to his turret.’
    • ‘We were surprised, since the engine already was shut down, and the propeller was feathered.’
    • ‘After shutdown and confirmation, the propeller feathered with no pitchlock, and the pilots completed the emergency procedures.’
    • ‘Lieutenant Emerson was able to get the fire extinguished, then he feathered the propeller.’
    • ‘The propeller was not feathered and more oil was coming out of the front of the engine.’
    • ‘The crew had experienced minor difficulty in getting the propeller to fully feather.’
    • ‘I reacted by feathering the right propeller and securing the right engine.’
    • ‘With an engine failure, the prop couldn't be feathered.’
    • ‘He shut down the engine, feathered the propeller and entered a power-off emergency descent.’
    • ‘He had Lieutenant Stormer secure the port engine and feather the propeller.’
    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.’
  • 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
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She had short, feathered, auburn hair with black streaks.’

Phrases

  • a feather in one's cap

    • An achievement to be proud of.

      ‘beating him would be a feather in my cap’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘‘That's a feather in your cap,’ someone told me today.’
      • ‘‘It's a feather in your cap when you are asked to be captain, especially by someone like Paul Broadbent,’ he said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Entertaining the Queen was undoubtedly 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      make money
      View synonyms
  • (as) light as a feather

    • Extremely light and insubstantial.

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