1

feather

noun feath·er \ ˈfe-t͟hər \

Definition of feather

1 a :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 2a
c :the vane of an arrow
2 a :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
3 :feathering 2
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

feathered

play \ˈfe-t͟hərd\ adjective

featherless

adjective
a feather in one's cap
:a mark of distinction :honor

Examples of feather in a Sentence

  1. the two brothers are sports-obsessed jocks, and most of their friends are of the same feather

  2. prom couples strutted into the ballroom in full feather

Recent Examples of feather from the Web

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.

Illustration of feather

Origin and Etymology of feather

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


2

feather

verb

Definition of feather

feathered; feathering play \ˈfet͟h-riŋ, ˈfe-t͟hə-\
transitive verb
1 a :to furnish (something, such as an arrow) with a feather
b :to cover, clothe, or adorn with or as if with feathers
2 a :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
4 a 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

Recent Examples of feather from the Web

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.

First Known Use of feather

13th century


Feather

geographical name Feath·er \ ˈfe-t͟hər \

Definition of Feather

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


FEATHER Defined for English Language Learners

feather

noun

Definition of feather for English Language Learners

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


feather

verb

Definition of feather for English Language Learners

  • : to put a feather in or on (something)


FEATHER Defined for Kids

1

feather

noun feath·er \ ˈfe-t͟hər \

Definition of feather for Students

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

feathered

\-t͟hərd\ adjective

2

feather

verb

Definition of feather for Students

feathered; feathering
1 :to provide or decorate with feathers
2 :to grow or form feathers

Medical Dictionary

feather

noun feath·er \ ˈfet͟h-ər \

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

feathered

play \-ərd\ adjective


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