feather

noun
feath·​er | \ ˈfe-t͟hər How to pronounce feather (audio) \

Definition of feather

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : any of the light, horny, epidermal outgrowths that form the external covering of the body of birds

Note: Feathers include the smaller down feathers and the larger contour and flight feathers. Larger feathers consist of a shaft (rachis) bearing branches (barbs) which bear smaller branches (barbules). These smaller branches bear tiny hook-bearing processes (barbicels) which interlock with the barbules of an adjacent barb to link the barbs into a continuous stiff vane. Down feathers lack barbules, resulting in fluffy feathers which provide insulation below the contour feathers.

b archaic : plume sense 2a
c : the vane of an arrow
2a : plumage
b : kind, nature birds of a feather flock together
d : condition, mood woke up in fine feather
e feathers plural : composure some feathers had been ruffled— D. J. Blum
4 : a projecting strip, rib, fin, or flange
5 : a feathery flaw in the eye or in a precious stone
6 : the act of feathering an oar
a feather in one's cap
: a mark of distinction : honor

feather

verb
feathered; feathering\ ˈfet͟h-​riŋ How to pronounce feathering (audio) , ˈfe-​t͟hə-​ \

Definition of feather (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to furnish (something, such as an arrow) with a feather
b : to cover, clothe, or adorn with or as if with feathers
2a : to turn (an oar blade) almost horizontal when lifting from the water at the end of a stroke to reduce air resistance
b(1) : to change the angle of (airplane propeller blades) so that the chords become approximately parallel to the line of flight also : to change the angle of airplane propeller blades of (an engine) in such a manner
(2) : to change the angle of (a rotor blade of a rotorcraft) periodically in forward flight
3 : to reduce the edge of to a featheredge
4a of a bird : to cut (the air) with a wing
b of a fish : to cut (the water) with a fin
5 : to join by a tongue and groove
6 : to hit, throw, pass, or shoot softly and usually with precision feathered a perfect lob over the net

intransitive verb

1 : to grow or form feathers
2 : to have or take on the appearance of a feather or something feathered
3 : to soak in and spread : blur used of ink or a printed impression
4 : to feather an oar or an airplane propeller blade
feather one's nest
: to provide for oneself especially financially by unethically exploiting a position of trust

Feather

geographical name
Feath·​er | \ ˈfe-t͟hər How to pronounce Feather (audio) \

Definition of Feather (Entry 3 of 3)

river 100 miles (161 kilometers) long in north central California flowing south into the Sacramento River

Illustration of feather

Illustration of feather

Noun

feather 1a: A: 1 quill, 2 vane; B: 1 barb, 2 barbule, 3 barbicel with hamulus

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from feather

Noun

featherless adjective

Examples of feather in a Sentence

Noun the two brothers are sports-obsessed jocks, and most of their friends are of the same feather prom couples strutted into the ballroom in full feather
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Let all those feather-haired (jerks) get their Oscars tomorrow. Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAY, "Adam Sandler jokes about Oscar 'snub' during expletive-laden Spirit Awards speech," 9 Feb. 2020 Jiffy Jigs are leadheads with a small soft plastic body and a feather tail. Frank Sargeant, al, "Friday Fishing Report: It’s prime time for crappie fishing," 31 Jan. 2020 Look for feather headpieces, face paint, and colorful bottoms. Shauna Beni, Condé Nast Traveler, "A Guide to the Wildest Carnival Celebrations Around the World," 31 Jan. 2020 This plays into the idea that butterfly wings are dead tissue, like a bird’s feathers or a mammal’s hair. The Economist, "Entomology There is more to a butterfly’s wing than meets the eye," 30 Jan. 2020 In addition to phosphorus, nitrogen is likely to leach out of the soil unless a slow-release product like feather meal is applied. oregonlive, "Urban gardens contain too much organic matter, OSU study finds," 28 Jan. 2020 In the video, the male turkey - snood engorged, tail feathers spread extravagantly - struts briskly after the U.S. Postal Service vehicle, circling the boxy white truck and lunging as the mail carrier inserts envelopes in each box along the block. Laura Reiley, Anchorage Daily News, "Wild turkey menace: Angry birds are pecking cars, deflating kiddie pools and harassing the elderly," 24 Dec. 2019 In another, soldiers talk, or seem to be talking, while a plump woman holds a colorful feather duster. Emilio Fraia, The New Yorker, "Sevastopol," 9 Dec. 2019 High atop the tree is a majestic Great Horned owl whose feathers are made of macadamia nut shells and pine cone scales. cleveland, "Olmsted Falls Garden Club is busy year round: Olmsted Dates and Data," 6 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Luisi had the orchestra playing gloriously, from feathered pianissimos to huge brassy assaults. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Fabio Luisi leads semi-staged Strauss 'Salome’ with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra," 1 Feb. 2020 Well, this is the semi-permanent version of that: feathered, slick, and shiny arches that look perfectly groomed every day. Hana Hong, Marie Claire, "What Is Brow Lamination?," 17 Jan. 2020 Use the dry bristle brush to dab and feather the vein, giving it a soft, diffused look. Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "This DIY Faux-Painted Marble Countertop Is Easier Thank You Think," 15 Jan. 2020 It was edged by a fresh haircut, short on the sides, feathered on the top. Douglas Stuart, The New Yorker, "Found Wanting," 6 Jan. 2020 The whole look — from the bouncy ends and feathered bangs to the winged liner and vintage-inspired Miu Miu number — evoked major nostalgia. Megan Decker, refinery29.com, "Selena Gomez Just Wore The Cutest ’60s-Inspired Hairstyle," 14 Jan. 2020 Cardi B enters the Queens Criminal Court in New York City in a larger-than-life feathered coat by Adrienne Landau . Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Cardi B Ruffles Feathers in Queens Court," 10 Dec. 2019 Caroll Spinney, the big-hearted Muppeteer who climbed inside a claustrophobic feathered costume to play the beloved Sesame Street character Big Bird for almost a half-century, died Sunday, Sesame Workshop announced. Lisa De Los Reyes, The Hollywood Reporter, "Caroll Spinney, Big Bird Muppeteer for Nearly 50 Years, Dies at 85," 8 Dec. 2019 Someone walked by with an elaborate ostrich-feathered hat two feet tall, turning heads: actress Dascha Polanco. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Rihanna Keeps Reinventing the Lingerie Fashion Show with Savage X Fenty," 11 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'feather.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of feather

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for feather

Noun

Middle English fether, from Old English; akin to Old High German federa wing, Latin petere to go to, seek, Greek petesthai to fly, piptein to fall, pteron wing

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Time Traveler for feather

Time Traveler

The first known use of feather was before the 12th century

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Statistics for feather

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Feather.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feather. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for feather

feather

noun
How to pronounce Feather (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of feather

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: any one of the light growths that make up the outer covering of the body of a bird

feather

verb

English Language Learners Definition of feather (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put a feather in or on (something)

feather

noun
feath·​er | \ ˈfe-t͟hər How to pronounce feather (audio) \

Kids Definition of feather

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one of the light horny growths that make up the outer covering of a bird

Other Words from feather

feathered \ -​t͟hərd \ adjective

feather

verb
feathered; feathering

Kids Definition of feather (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to provide or decorate with feathers
2 : to grow or form feathers

feather

noun
feath·​er | \ ˈfet͟h-ər How to pronounce feather (audio) \

Medical Definition of feather

: one of the light horny epidermal outgrowths that form the external covering of the body of birds and that consist of a shaft bearing on each side a series of barbs which bear barbules which in turn bear barbicels commonly ending in the hooked processes and interlocking with the barbules of an adjacent barb to link the barbs into a continuous vane

Other Words from feather

feathered \ -​ərd How to pronounce feathered (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on feather

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