One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The arrangement or disposition of the feathers of a bird, especially where this occurs in distinct tracts (pterylae); an instance of this.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Thomas Huxley (1825–1895), biologist and science educationist. From pteryla or its etymon post-classical Latin pteryla + -osis, after German Federnstellung, lit. ‘position of the feathers’.
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