Definition of featherbed in US English:


(also feather bed)


  • A bed that has a mattress stuffed with feathers.

    • ‘Hang your coat in the handcrafted armoire before stretching out on the four-poster with feather bed and comforter.’
    • ‘Before retiring to your cozy feather bed in the antiques-filled 1902 house, slip out to the gazebo-screened hot tub (robe and slippers provided).’
    • ‘For some years there was an uneasy rapprochement with Richard, but in 1397 Gloucester was seized, at the king's orders, and taken to Calais, where he died, having apparently been smothered under a feather bed.’
    • ‘Once she reached the master bedroom, Sarah threw open the doors and quickly shed her clothes, donning some gray sweats and a tank top, brushed her teeth and collapsed into her feather bed.’
    • ‘She stretched languidly on the soft feather bed and imagined the duke sitting there again, just watching her, smiling at the sight of her asleep.’
    • ‘Changing quickly she snuggled down into her soft feather bed and thought of when Shawn and her first met.’
    • ‘Laurie removed a feather bed from the guest bedroom and insisted that Brian take it to camp.’
    • ‘His back was relatively sore after making the rough transition from a feather bed to a hard pallet on the floor.’
    • ‘It was good weather to stay wrapped in a down comforter on a feather bed and watch first light seep over the hills and through the surrounding woods to filter around the curtains.’
    • ‘Will I get running water, a nice feather bed, perhaps a private stash of rum?’
    • ‘It was much harder than her feather bed, but it would do.’
    • ‘‘I don't know what you're talking about,’ she replied dully flopping onto the feather bed.’
    • ‘In thinking over the old times, when people slept in feather-beds, with closed windows, and, sometimes, a stove burning in the room, we wonder that our grandparents did not die of asphyxiation.’
    • ‘Fran didn't use deckchairs, just natty old towels upon which she languidly stretched as if she was on a feather bed.’
    • ‘But instead of lingering outdoors, we head up to our room, where it feels wonderful to kick off our shoes and lie back on the overstuffed feather bed in a room filled with delicate antique furniture.’
    • ‘Another option is a fluffy feather bed that adds some extra cushion to the mattress and some warmth to the nighttime.’


[with object]British
  • 1Provide (someone) with advantageous economic or working conditions.

    ‘apart from the fees he earns, a practicing lawyer is not featherbedded in any way’
    • ‘For many, many years they had feather-bedded, cushioned provisions in those key industries.’
    • ‘You cannot expect people to feather-bed these public sector employees while being robbed blind by spendthrift councils and Government taxes.’
    • ‘We cannot afford to feather-bed the trucking industry if we want a fair, level playing field for rail, which is more energy efficient.’
    • ‘We are feather-bedding them all at our expense!’
    • ‘One said: ‘Why should he be feather-bedded when they've already missed one target launch date?’’
    pamper, spoil, overindulge, coddle, mollycoddle, cosset, nanny, nursemaid, mother, baby, pet, spoon-feed, feather-bed, wrap in cotton wool, overparent
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1usually as noun featherbedding Deliberately limit production or retain excess staff in (a business) in order to create jobs or prevent unemployment, typically as a result of a union contract.
      • ‘Despite such feather-bedding, a huge proportion of local government staff retire early on health grounds.’
      • ‘Workforces were grossly inflated, and there was appalling productivity, and feather-bedding all round.’
      • ‘Fire-fighter feather-bedding is no more surprising here than it would be in any other union.’
      • ‘Amid a barrage of criticism from the public about featherbedding and overmanning, the country's civil service is being forced to streamline and reform.’
      • ‘As time went by, he became increasingly irritated by the rampant featherbedding he discovered.’
      • ‘The Treasury has also announced plans to employ an extra 210,000 over the next three years so that, by election year 2006, we can expect the state payroll to be featherbedding 5.5 million voters.’
      • ‘Hand in hand with that was the emphasis placed upon improving performance, and, of course, undermining the tenure system which had played such a large part in the feather-bedding.’
      • ‘Secondly, there is the argument that the country would be far better off buying the kit for the armed services from the best supplier - of whatever nationality - than featherbedding the defence sector with soft contracts.’